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LAYS AND LEGENDS 
o 0F mi, 

THOMOND. 

WITH HISTORICAL AND TRADITIONAL NOTES. 

Br 

MICHAEL HOGAN, 

"BARD OF THOMOND." 



', %t\t&> nnbr dtompkle (Biition. ^ 



DUBLIN: 
M. H. GILL AND SON, 50 UPPER SACKVILLE-ST. 

./ •' .-.-. 1880. ' * ":-< ; • 

'■'-- ' \ A- 

*" ■ [All rights reserved.] -/T^/-^ 



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PRINTED BY M. H. GILL AND RON, 50 UPPER SACKVILLE-ST. DUBLIN. 




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IS 

RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR, 

TO THE MOST NOBLE 

(8>KXBlint f ^MtYianm at ($MtMbttt% t 

IN GRATITUDE FOR HER LARGE-HEARTED 
AND PRACTICAL SYMPATHY WITH 

Ireland's 
national cause. 



INTRODUCTION. 



In submitting this new edition of native Songs, 
Ballads, and Legends to the public, I merely wish 
to introduce them as the offspring of national poetic 
ardour. 

In the succeeding pages the reader will find many 
war-poems on the chivalrous valour of the noble Gael, 
in the grand and proud old days of Eoyal Eire, when 
the bard was the companion of the King, and gold 
was less prized than song. I have also varied the 
volume with some romantic Legends, founded on the 
Fairy superstitions which our noble peasantry so 
dearly love, and which have never failed to lend an 
airy charm to Irish poetry. These Fairy pieces have 
some slight traditional ground- work, but the super- 
structure belongs to the ideal region of Fancy, in 
which I have dreamt and revelled whilst alone on 
the bright green banks of the kingly Shannon, when 
summer sunset was stealing away from the sleeping 
flowers, and the dewy curtain of night lay on the 
silent meadows. 

Though a new book of Irish poetry, like all native 
manufacture, may deserve patronage and support, yet 
it too often receives neither, and therefore our fine 
literature has almost become extinct, like our noble * 
language. 
Many of the learned tribunals of my native land 



INTRODUCTION. 



have awarded the palm of merit to the produce of 
my Parnassian farm ; and.though I have had a late 
and bad harvest, yet I fear I shall be early enough 
for a worse market. 

Twelve years ago I made my first advance in the 
market of letters, and was remorselessly fleeced by a 
Printer's devil, who stormed my air-castles, broke 
through the entrenchments of Mount Helicon, sacri- 
legiously seized on the chattels of the sacred Nine, 
and drove me from the ramparts without the honours 
of war. I was not much disspirited at such an unex- 
pected repulse, for poetry lost nothing of its enjoy- 
ment, and the Muse waved a bolder wing than ever, 
and now I again enter the poetical arena to fight for 
fresh laurel boughs. I know my rhyming tilts will 
not please everyone — some may condemn and some 
may applaud, but every honest lover of poor old Ire- 
land will believe that I meant well for her sake. 

To the lovers of Ireland's splendid traditions and 
olden glories, I present this volume of " Lays and 
Legends.'' They are not clothed with classic mantles, 
neither do they shine with the gaudy tinsel of Art. I 
offer them as the simple creations of a natural poetic 
imagination ; the outpourings of a heart glowing 
with love for the noble sons and daughters of the 
Emerald Isle. My proudest and best reward shall be 
a place in my country's memory, when the Redeemer 
will call her from the tomb of alien bondage. 

The first edition of these Poems, which appeared in 
1867, would have been a great success were it not for 
the shameless and faithless conduct of the publisher, 
who promised to have the book ready in three months, 
but it was two years before I could get it out of his 



INTRODUCTION. Vll 

hands, and then only in unbound sheets. Conse- 
quently, the public grew tired of waiting, and the 
subscribers angry and disgusted. 

Some time previous I made another venture in 
Dublin, and fared worse, for although I have the 
publisher's memoranda for 7,000 copies printed and 
published, yet I never received anything more sub- 
stantial than the memoranda. If this is not profitable 
business with a vengeance, I challenge all the enter- 
prise on earth for success. I often think that I was 
born to live on cobwebs and rainbows, and to have ac- 
counts nowhere only in Jack Delay's Bank, where I 
never get principal or interest ; but there's good times 
coming, as the sailor said when he was drowning, 
" I might catch a spar of the wreck yet." 

Thomond. 



CONTENTS 



LEGENDARY POEMS AND ROMANCES. 

, , . PAGE 

The Fairy Maid of Garna, (O'Cearneigh) -.,*., ,.. 62 

Mary of the Mountain; or, Patt O'Leary and the Golden, Castle of 

Cullane Lake. Parts I., 'II., III., IV. _ ... ... 9 

The Fairy Bridal. A Legend of Killeely . ... .".. ... 24 

King Donald's Daughter. A Legend of the Shannon ... ... 45 

Drunken Thady. A Legend of Limerick ... ... ... 74 

Oebhinn, the Banshee, and the Great Earl of Thomqnd ,.., ... 103 

The Spirit of Morogh, Son of Brian ... .... - ... - ..... ... f 108 

The Bride of Clancuilen. A Fairy Romance of Canjigoeunnell. Cantos. 

I., II., Ill, IV. ... ... ..,.* i,..-.;. ...,139 

King Mahon and Oebhinn, the Banshee. A Legend of Craiglea ... 207 

The Living Skeleton. A Vision of the Famine Year, 1847 ... 215 

The Rose of the Glen. A Legend of Cratloe ... ... ... 221 

Garadh Earla and the two Coopers. A Legend of Loch Gur ... 245 

The Fairy Hurling Match. A Legend of Mungret ... ... 266 

The Doom of Brian Roe. A Legend of Bunratty ... ... 282 

The Warrior-Exiles. A Legend of the Clan Maclnnerney... ... 289 

The Spectre Bride. A Legend of Kinkora ... ... ... 302 

The Pirate of Dunlica. A Legend of Corcovaskin ... ... 310 

The Fate of Mahon and Eileen. A Legend of the O'Cearneigh ... 316 
The Fatal Ensign. A Legend of the Battle of Clontarf. Parts I., II, 

III ... ... ... ... ... ... 328 

The Water Spirit. A Legend of Castle Connell... ... ... 333 

Eithne's Vision as Queen of Tara ... ... ... ... 335 

The Murdered Prince. A Legend of the House of Thomond ... 337 

Torlogh and Mary. A Legend of Quin Abbey ... ... ... 344 

The Bride of the Suir. A Fairy Legend of , Cahir ... ... 358 

The Last of the Royal O'Briens ... ... ... ... 389 

The Silver Bells. A Legend ef St. Mary's Cathedral ... ... |30 

WAR-POEMS AND CHIVALROUS ROMANCES. 

The Death of Morogh, at Clontarf ... ... . m .i. U 

The Battle of Limerick. Achievements of the Women .,'. ... 52 

The Sarsfield Testimonial ... ... ... ... ... 55 

O'Neill's War-song ... ... ... ... ... . 56 

The Battle of the Yellow Ford (Beal*m-atha'buidh) ... ... 5B 

O'Neill's Gathering ... ... ... , u ... ..$3 

The Battle of Clontibret ... ... ... .*•>■' ... t » 

Cathol Mac Carrach ... ... ... ..«'' ... -118 

The Battle of Moinmor «.. ... it . ■ ...-' -^ ... ffi 



Morogh, the Burner, ... .„ ... ... ... 120 

The Battle of Fredericksburgh ... ... ... 124 

The Fate of De Quincy ... ... ... ... ... 127 

The Battle of Fanconrad ... ... ... ... ... 128 

Bardic Meditations ... ... ... ... ... 131 

The Battle of the Corsliabh (Curlew) Mountains ... ... 133 

The Fairy Battle of Knoc Feirin ... ... ... ... 100 

John Mitchell in Exile ... ... ... ... ... 160 

The Death of King Crimthan ... ... ... ...172 

The Battle of Croom ... ... ... ... ... 17± 

The Heroine of the Breach of Limerick ... ... ... 170 

The City of the Kings (Cashol) ... ... ... ... 190 

Death Song of the Bards of Tyrone and Tyrconnell ... ... 194 

The Battle" of Sulchoid ... ..= ... ... ... 209 

The Battle of Corcomroe ... ... ... ••• ... 228 

The "War-song of Clan Cuilcn ... ... ... ,.. 230 

Fireball MacNamara's Address to his Pistols ... ... ... 257 

The Bards of Ancient Erin ... ... ... ... 270 

The Battle of Monabraher... ... ... ... ... 271 

Sarsfield's Farewell to Limerick ... ... ... ... 2S8 

The Death of King Brian ... ... ... ... ... 293 

The Destruction of Kinkora ... ... ... .. 307 

The Battle of Tor Conainn ... ... ... ... ... 322 

The Battle of Thurles ... - ... ... ... i ... 353 

The Battle of Magressin, and the Murder of Brian Roe, at Bunratty... 301 

The Chief s of Lamh Laidir ... ... ... ... 307 

The Battle of Kilbarron ... ... ... ... ... 401 

The Battle of Bunratty ... ... ... ... ... 379 

The Battle of Dysert, and the total destruction of the De Clares ... 441 

The Battle of Cadmus ... ... ... ... ... 417 



POEM-PICTURES AND SONGS OF THE AFFECTIONS. 

The Angel's Visit ... ... ... ... ... 22 

The Shades of Monabraher .. ... ... ... ... 30 

Come to the Mountains ... ... ... ... ... 39 

Shannon's Spangled Banks and Bowers ... ... ... 38 

Gentle Nannie ... ... ... ... ... ... 01 

The Fenian Bride ... ... ... ... ... 07 

Come,. Gentle Spring ... ... ... ... ... 80 

The Dark -haired Boy ... ... ... ... ... 89 

The Woods and Waterfalls of Doonass ... ... ... 91 

Rosroe and its Traditions ... ... ... ... ... 105 

Maggie Bhan ... ... ... ... ... ... 97 

The Evicted Peasant ... ... ... ... ... 98 

Irish Beauty and Eastern Peris ... ... ... ... 28 

Young Ellen of the Grove... ... ... ... ... 29 

The Peasant's Bridal ... ... ... ... ... 32 

Brown-haired Jane ... ... ... ... ... 33 

The Flower of Limerick ... ... ... ... ... 44 

Mary of Loch Rea ... ... ... ... ... 50 

Song. of the Irish Emigrants ... ... ... ... 72 

Maryanne's Charms ... ... ... ... ... 73 

The Nameless Patriot ... .... .. ... ... 116 

Lovely Maryanne ... ' ... ... ... ... 112 

Love. and Nationality ... ... ... ... ... 117 

Mac Gennis's Daughter ... ... ... ... ... 136 

R. D. Joyce's Poems ... ... ... ... ... 168 

The Woodman's Daughter ... '..'. ... ... 109 

The Bard of' the. Barrow ... ... '.'.'. ... ... 185 

tfoung Love # ... ... ... ... ... ... 185 



The Beauties of Quinsburgh 

The Hills of Bally car 

Drahareen O'Machree 

Address to the Shannon 

Kathleen 

Soul -aspirations 

Eileen's Dream 

The Banks of Avoncloun ... 

The Fawn of Ardcregan 

The Banks of Blackwatcr ... 

The Cottage Maid ... 

The Emigrant's Story 

The Princess Finola 

Night Thoughts 

Paddy MacCarthy's address to his Sweetheart ... 

The Hose of Ardcregan 

]\lo Bochaillin Doun 

Captain Brennan, the Outlaw of the Hill 

The Irish Maiden to her Lover, Sea an Bhan Oge 

Eileen Oge Machrce 

The Beauties of Plassy, and Romance of Castle Troy 

The Dark Summer of '79 ... 

The Patriot Maiden 

Tipperary, my home 

The Peri of Parteen 

The Maiden's Dream 

A Visit to Cork,... 

A Midsummer Evening 

A Summer Love Dream ... 

Youth's Green Spring 

The Mountains... 

Address to Aubrey de Yere 

The Peasant to his Emigrant Daughter 

The Outcast 

Mary O'Neill's Elopement... 

The Bard's Protest 

The Swan of the Ayr 

Tne Exile's Return 

The Beauties of Dromoland 

Young Annie ... 

The Uutterily ... 

Mannix the Coiner 

The Bard and the Shannon 

The Bard's Earewell to the Shannon ... 



186 

189 

31 

413 

192 
193 

205 
214 
231 
233 
23G 
238 
243 
248 
255 
256 
259 
200 
201 
202 
264 
270 
280 
287 
299 
298 
300 
371 
370 
373 
375 
138 
393 
396 
398 
406 
123 
, 410 
. 423 
426 
. 427 
. 434 
. 435 



REQUIEMS AND WREATHS EOR THE DEAD. 

King Brian's Lament for King Mahon 

Requiem for King Mahom A Bardic Dirge ... ... ... 

The Death of Donovan, Son of Cahal, Slain in Single Combat by Mo- 

rogh, Son of Brian. A Bardic Dirge 
Requiem for John Mitchell 
A Mother's Lament for her Insane Daughter 
The Widow's Lament 
To the Memory of " Una !" 
The Grave of Seaan BweeMacNamara 
A Dirge f or the Dalcassians 
Death-song of Evcleen MacNamara ... 
Lament for Edward Walsh 
To the Memory of an English Friend 
To the Lily of Sunville ... 
The Miser's Grave 



49 

84 

84 

87 

98 
118 
121 
154 . 
182, 
183 

.\n 

#5 



PAOB 

A Mother at the Grave of her only Son ... ... ... 232 

To the Memory of Caroline Mary Nixon ... ... ... 277 

Lament for the Venerable Archdeacon Goold ... ... ... 278 

The anniversary of his death ... ... ... ... 280 

Lament of the Shannon ... ... ... ... ... 291 

Requiem for Torlogh O'Brien, King of Thomond ... ... 234 

The Father's Lament for his Children ... ... ... ... 394 

The Wail of Erin for "William S. O'Brien ... ... ... 164 

Lament for Thomas Francis Meagher ... ... ... 414 

The Clan's Dirge around the Bier of Tiege O'Brien ... ... 413 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 



MARY OF THE MOUNTAIN; OR, PATT O'LEARY, 
AND THE GOLDEN CASTLE. 

A LEGEND OF CULLANE LAKE* (CLARE). 



High sung the lark — soft blew the gale, 

Slow waved the birch wood's vernal shadows ; 
The honey dew lay on the vale, 

The bee humm'd o'er the golden meadows ; 
Bright ran the stream, light danced the beam 

Of morning on its purling splendour ; 
From hill and mound, gay nature pour'd 

Her song of beauty sweet and tender. 

Within the green heart of a wood, 

Where gush'd a wildly-singing fountain, 
Amid the flowery solitude 

Lived dark-hair'd Mary of the Mountain ! 
And summer's leaves or winter's snows, 

With sunny smiles had ever found her ; 
For Mary's heart was like the rose 

That fill'd the woods with odour round her. 
Love pencill'd beauty on her mien, 

Her foot had all the spring-wind's fleetaeM£ 
And Carrigcleena's serial Queen 

Hath not such smiles of modest sweetness ! 



* There are many curious stories related by the local peasantry about 
this wild and romantic Lake. As for myself, I was nearly deprived of th« 
luxury of telling anything about it, as I narrowly escaped being drowned v 
there one fine morning while on a fishing excursion. Its depth is very 
immense. - $*■* 

2 



10 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

She look'd, as if the Fairy powers 
Had lent her eyes their thrilling charm ; 

She blush'd, as if the young May flowers 
Were glowing in her face and form. 

. But why, this morn, has Mary's face 
Lost all its rose-bright smiles of grace ? 
Why droops she paler than the lily, 
When biting north-winds chill the valley ? 
She sits upon a heathery mound, 
Beside the streamlet's dreamy sound ; 
And like the gentle stars that keep 
Their dewy watch o'er Nature's sleep, 
Her large, blue, pensive eyes express'd 
The tearful anguish of her breast. 

For pwo long years, from day to day, 

A Saxon Captain courted Mary ; 
Bijt her young heart was given away, 

With all its truth, to Patt O'Leary. 
And Patt was Nature's Irish child, 

With heart and spirit warm and grateful ; 
In sport the wildest of the wild, 

In love and friendship, fond and faithful. 
His step was proud — his form was high, — 

His brow with manhood's glory bright'ning, 
And from his wild, impassion'd eye, 

Youth, fire, and vigour flung their lightning. 
When Clare's swift hurlers swept the ball 

Along the meadows, green and airy, 
Your eye could mark, above them all, 

The comely port of Patt O'Leary. 
Impetuous, 'mid the rushing throng, 

His blows, with sweeping might, resounded, 
As from his hurley, tough and strong, 

The ball, with hissing swiftness, bounded ! 
When, to the bagpipes' merry sound, 

He danced the reel with Mountain Mary, 
The peasant-girls all sigh'd around, 

And flung their hearts at Patt O'Leary. 

He thrash'd Red Cormac, from the glen ; 

He beat Con Clanchy in a wrestle, 
And, for a wager of" Potheen, 

He flung a sledge o'er Moneen Castle ! 
Down, in the ravine's bed of stone, 

He pitched a Gauger, from the hill, 
And broke the hero's collar-bone, 

For seizing on Bill Daly's still ; 
And when Lord Saxon's agent came 

To Jis^pssess his cousin, Sally, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 11 

Patt left a landmark on his frame, 

As he descended to the valley. 
In vain the Vultures of the Law- 
Pursued his steps thro' glen and meadow ; 
Soon as their scarlet coats he saw, 

He vanish'd like a fairy shadow. 
And often, in his spirit's play, 

He lured them to the mountains, dreary ; 
And there, 'mid briers and rocks, all day, 

They chased and curst wild Patt O'Leary. 
At times he melted from their view ; 

Then, sudden, reappear'd before them ; 
And then, again, with wild halloo, 

Danced proudly on the tall rocks, o'er them ! 
With straining arm, and sweating brow, 

They climbed the cliffs brown forehead, airy ; 
Then from the glen's deep bed below, 

Look'd up, and shouted, Patt O'Leary ! 
Thus fared the chase, 'till closed the day, 

And Heaven's high star lamps all were lighted, 
Then homeward Patt pursued his way, 

And left them in the glens, benighted ! 

The loveliest maids of Emerald Clare 

Put on their sunniest smiles to win him ; 
Where'er he moved, at dance or fair, 

A host of beaming eyes were on him ; 
But, with affection's golden chain, 

His heart was link'd to Mountain Mary, 
And she paid back his love again, 

And wildly worshipp'd Patt O'Leary ! 
But Mary's father liked him not ; 

He said some gloomy fate was o'er him ; 
And when he sought her mountain cot, 

She mark'd j^er sire grow dark before him. 
Yet, when the Captain came the way, 

How courteous was the old man's greeting ; 
A cloud lay on her heart all day ; 

She wept and trembled at their meeting. 

This morn he sought their mountain home, 

With harness d steeds and glittering carriage ; 
And Mary's brow was wrapt in gloom, 

When he declared the day of marriage. 
Wild, frenzied, from the cot she flew, 

While gushing tears, in hot showers, dxpwn'd her ! 
Her hair, on every wind that blew, 

Stream'd, like a midnight cloud, around her ! 
Jb'ar, in the forest's dark green vest, 

She vanish'd like a thing of brightness ! " 



12 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The dewy, spangled grass, scarce prest, 
Danced playful in her track of lightness, 

'Till fainting, from her tiresome flight, 
She sunk beside the amber fountain ; 

There, lonely, as a bird of night, 

Wept dark-hair'd Mary of the Mountain. 



The red-wing'd clouds of Summer eve 

Slept on the sun's departing brightness, 
And flung upon the Lake's pale wave 

Their dreamy shades of aerial whiteness ! 
In pearly wreaths the dew-mists rose 

On shadowy hill and vernal plain, 
White as if Winter's vanish'd snows 

Appear'd on Summer's robe of green ! 
The lark, with weary wings, descended 

To nestle in the shamrock-sod ; 
His sweet day-hymn of praise is ended 

In the blue hall of Nature's God ! 
The dim, white stars peep'd out above, 

In growing beauty, one by one, 
Winking their radiant eyes of love, 

With joy, behind the dying sun ! 
The woods, round Cullane's fairy shore, 

In their own shadows seem'd reposing ; 
On Nature's bosom every flower 

Its eye, in dewy dreams, was closing ; 
All lay in sleepy loveliness ; 

No zephyr to the leaves was speaking, 
As if the Night, in holiest dress, 

An audience of her God was seeking ! 

Upon a flowery heather mound, 

At twilight's close, sat Patt O'Leary, 
His manly arm encircling, round, 

The swan-like neck of Mountain Mary. 
With pouting lip she told her tale, 

And Patt vowed vengeance on the stranger ; 
And Mary strove, without avail, 

To turn him from the deed of danger. 
"Mary !" he said, "there's yet a hope, 

" That wings my spirit with emotion ; 
" If you be true, let us elope 

" Together o'er the Western Ocean. 
"Ill drive the cow to Tulla fair, — 

"Go cheap or dear, I care not whether ; — 
" And if you wish to meet me there, 

"We'll quickly take the road together. 
" If you refuse me to proceed, 

" You'll be the bride of Captain Frontry ; — 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 13 

" Bad luck to all his foreign breed, 

' ' They've brought misfortune on the country. 

" Say will you wed that blood-stain'd brute, 
" Or fly from him with Patt O'Leary ? 

* * Decide at once, and tell the truth, 

"Will you be mine ? oh ! faithful Mary !" 

Then Mary paused, and wept awhile, 

Her fears in one tear-gush were vented ; 
And, with a mingling blush and smile, 

Gazed on her lover, and — consented ! 
With mutual vows and mix'd delight, 

Chasten'd and purified by sorrow, 
They fondly parted for the night, 

To meet more happy on the morrow. 

Patt drove the cow, at twelve o'clock, 

To meet the fair by morning early ; 
Wrapt in his shapely home-made frock, 

He trudged behind her, whistling cheer'ly. 
Thro' wild Cullane's embowering shades — 

Beneath the silver starlight, sleeping, 
He pass'd — the trees, with silent heads, 

Upon his darken'd path hung weeping. 
He turn'd to see the Lake's blue plain, 

With all its emerald glories round it ; 
But there appear'd a grand demesne, 

By towering elms and poplars bounded. 
Majestic, in the star-gemm'd sky, 

The ash and pine their green crowns blended, 
And from the mantling bushes nigh, 

The nightingale's wild song ascended ! 
The breathings of the moorland thyme 

Stole on his senses, sweet as honey ; 
All look'd so radiant and sublime, 

He thought the face of night grew sunny. 
The silvery tone of streams he heard 

Resounding in the arbours, splendid, 
And when a breath the tree-tops stirr'd, 

A shower of honey^drops descended. 
He look'd at every stately tree, 

He peep'd thro' every shaded alley ; 
And far around, as eye could see, 

The place seem'd one enchanted valley ! 

He check'd poor careless drimin's speed, 

And promised her a hearty flaking, 
Because she did not stop to heed 

The observations he was making ! 
Enraged, he aim'd and flung his stick, 

It new — with whizzing force resounding — 



14 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And struck her heels — she gave a kick, 

And thro' the tangled fence went bounding ! 
" Oh ! holy Saints !" in mad despair, 

He mutter'd, as the beast deserted ; 
" Sure, if the owner finds her there, 

" 'Tis to the Pound she'll be transported !" 
With one quick, active, manly bound, 

He clear'd the thorny hedge behind her, 
And swiftly ran, and searched around 

The spacious grassy lawn, to find her. 
But as he stray'd the glades among, 

New scenes of startling wonder found him ; 
And heavenly sights and sounds of song, 

As born of magic, rose around him. 
His way was lost — his cow was gone — 

A strange sky seem'd to glitter o'er him ; 
Where'er he turn'd, or wander'd on, 

A splendid desert spread before him. 
He paused — and to retrace his track 

Commenced, then stood again astounded ; 
For as he sought the pathway back, 

He went astray, yet more confounded. 
He leant against a giant tree, 

And gazed around, confused and weary ; 
Oh ! bitter was his agony, 

To think of disappointing Mary ! 
Again he tried to wander back, 

And lo ! among the sylvans, gliding, 
He saw a horseman, dress'd in black, 

At headlong speed, against him riding ! 
" Oh ! Virgin ! am I dreaming now?" 

He murmur'd, staring at the stranger ; 
"My curse upon that thieving cow 

* ' That led me to this place of danger !" 
But as he wail'd his luckless lot, 

And all his sad mishaps recounted ; 
The horseman gallop'd to the spot, 

And from his mighty steed dismounted. 
The horse ran free — Patt kept his ground, 

As if chain'd down by spell of Fairy ; 
The rider, courteous, turn'd around, 

And said — "Good-morrow, Patt O'Leary !" 

"Good-morrow kindly, sir !" said Patt, 

Who felt new courage kindling o'er him ; 
And pulling off his tight straw hat, 

Made a respectful bow before him. 
"Who owns this place, sir ?" Patt went on, 

" I did not think the whole creation — 
"Earth, Ocean, Heaven, Stars, Moon, or Sun,- 

" Could show me such a fine plantation. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 15 

"I've seen resplendent Eden Vale, — * 

" Of Thomond-vales the loveliest one ; — 
"I've seen Adare and Innisfail,f 

"Ballingar and Cahircon ! 
" Yet all their charms in one united, 

" Were but a desert waste to this ; 
" Never was human eye delighted 

"By such surpassing loveliness !" 
The dark man answered, with a nod, 

" Friend, there is truth in thy opinion ; 
"No mortal foot, save thine, e'er trod 

" The splendid soil of my dominion ! 
" I am the lord of all you see, 

"And here are scenes still more exquisite ; 
" I'll show thee all — now follow me — 

"And thou shalt ne'er regret thy visit !" 



Along a green path, side by side, 

Thro' mazy shades, they went together, 
While to his questions, Patt replied, 

'Bout Ireland's state, — the crops and weather ; 
And as they farther on advanced 

O'er lawn and woodland's rich expansion, 
A thousand sparkling glories danced 

Around them, as they near'd the mansion. 
Patt stopp'd— then moved, with easy stride, 

His eye in wild amazement ranging ; 
And as he gazed, on every side, 

With brighter charms the scene was changing. 
At last the splendid fabric shone 

Full on his sight, so brightly beaming ; 
It seem'd one solid diamond-stone, 

With varied hues of radiance gleaming. 
Such grandeur and magnificence 

Was never seen by eye of mortal ; 
Patt almost lost' his sight and sense 

Before the dome's resplendent portal ! 
High rose to Heaven the glittering towers, 

Their radiant windows all seem'd blazing 
Bright, as when May day's bridal flowers 

Upon their bridegroom Sun are gazing. 
But yet the wonder greater grew, 

For, looking towards the roof that crown'd it 
He saw, 'mid wavy shadows blue, 

Unnumber'd fishes darting round it : 



* Eden Vale, near Ennis, in the county of Clare.; '„'■»•-• 
t The Island of Innisfallen, in the Lake of Killarfcey.^ 



16 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And, high above his head, a boat 

(He plainly heard the oar-strokes splashing), 
In the clear star-light seem'd to float 

Thro' the calm night-sky swiftly dashing. 
He saw the limpid azure riven 

At every dip the oars were taking ; 
And the whole burning plain of heaven 

In rapid fiery rings seem'd breaking ! 

On the vast jewell'd steps that led 

To the majestic Hall of Wonder, 
Patt stood half -dazzled and half dead, 

Venting his wild surprise in blunder : — 
" O Lord ! where am I ? — what's this here ? — 

" Or am I 'witch'd, or am I raving ? 
" I wish there were a doctor near 

" To tell me if I'm dead or living !" 
The dark man waved him to the door, — 

"Come on ! why do you thus refuse, sir ?" 
Said Patt, "Before I soil the floor ; 

" Allow me to take off my shoes, sir !" 
" Come on !" the gloomy stranger roar'd, 

And frowning stamp'd with kindling fury ; 
Patt started like a frighten'd bird, 

And enter'd in a reckless hurrjf. 
But here a blinding rush of light, — 

All objects in its splendour bright 'ning — 
Flash'd full upon his wounded sight, 

Like one fierce burst of midnight lightning. 
" Am I in Heaven or Hell ?" he scream'd, 

With both his hands his eye-balls shading ; — 
"Come on !" the mystic host exclaim'd, 

" And tread the footsteps of my leading !" 
Patt thro' his fingers glanced around, 

And saw — with dread refulgence lighting— 
The Battle of Clontarf, renown'd, 

And all the Chieftains fiercely fighting ! 
Here royal Brian stood to view 

The movements of the action, gory, 
And there the regal Sunburst flew 

Above the field, in flaming glory ! 
He heard the blows — a thunderous flood — 

He saw the mighty princes dying ; 
And thro' the crimson haze of blood 

He mark'd a sea of weapons flying. 
He saw the helmets burst like glass, 

And chasms in the ranks enlarging ; 
Where Morogh and the troops of Cas 

Upon the Danish host were charging. 
His bosom kindled at the fight, 

He clapp'd his hands in mad distraction ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 17 

And, burning with a fierce delight, 

He made a rush to join the action ; 
The dark man laugh'd and held him tight, — 

" Friend, tho' that scene, in thy conjecture, 
" Seems real and living to thy sight, 

" 'Tis but a false and airy picture !" 
He said, and drew him farther on, 

Where — towards the hall's illumined border — 
The glorious Siege of Limerick shone, 

Towers, walls, and hosts in martial order. 
Loud roar'd the red besiegers' guns ; 

The crashing wall is rent asunder, 
And o'er the ruin Limerick's sons 

Opposed the flaming metal thunder ! 
Here Sarsfield — like a god of fire 

Amid a conflagration striding — 
Thro' wreck and flame, and havoc dire, 

Upon the battle's wave seem'd riding ! 
The women cheer'd, and charg'd the foe, 

With stones and crags, and broken bottles ; 
While guns and bayonets, to and fro, 

Were dash'd about, and smas^'d, like wattles. 
He saw the ramparts, in a blaze^ 

All waving as if built on swivels ; 
While Brandenburghers, in amaze, 

Were blown away, like flaming devils. 

Patt could contain himself no more : 

"Well done ! by heavens !" he fiercely shouted ; 
" Ho ! by the thundering god of war ! 

"The cursed foreign thieves are routed ! 
"Take off your hold, sir — let me go ! 

"My madden'd brain on fire is swimming, 
"I'll whack a hundred of the foe ! 

"For God's sake, let me help the women !" 
Again the dark man laugh'd aloud — 

* ' Bold youth — I never knew a bolder — 
"There's other sights which, if I show'd, 

" Would drive to madness the beholder !" 

He turn'd from the martial scene, 

And walk'd along the hall of brightness; 
With walls of dazznng golden sheen, 

And marble-floor of glittering whiteness. 
On, on they went thro' beaming rooms, 

With ceilings, like the Spring sky, glowing, 
And scented, as if May's perfumes 

Dropp'd there from every sweet flower blowing. 
They reach'd a lofty corridor, 

So stately, spacious and extended, 



18 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Patt look'd amazed ! behind — before — 

But could not reckon where it ended. 
Here at one side, on seats of gold, 

All Thomond's minstrel band was shining, 
And at the other — proud and bold — 

Her Chiefs and Princes sat reclining. 
His cleaving battle-axe and spear, 

Stood bright beside each mighty leader ; 
A Herald cried, " there's no one here, 

" But those that scourged the false Invader !" 
And as he spoke, a dreadful clang 

Of swords and shields, was heard to rattle ; 
The Bards all struck their harps and sang 

The soul-inspiring "Eye of Battle /" 
High swell'd the ringing martial sound, 

A thousand tones in one uniting ; 
The Chiefs inflamed, grew furious round, 

And shook their arms in act of fighting. 
Patt felt the overpowering spell 

Drown all his senses in its ocean ; 
He reel'd around, and down he fell, 

And fainted, with his fierce emotion ! 



When Patt recover'd from his swoon, 

Collecting all his rambling senses ! 
Still on his hearing burst the tune, 

And on his sight the dreadful Princes. 
The dark man smiled, and raised him up, 

Presenting him a jewell'd meader ;* 
Patt quickly seized the glittering cup, 

And toasted every JDalcas Leader. 
A cheer, from all the regal throng, 

Burst, like the wind in winter dreary, 
And rung the shining halls along, 

With " Bravo ! Bravo ! Patt O'Leary !" 
The dark man whisper'd in his ear, 

" Brave youth, as you're inclined to marry, 
' There's idle gold in cart-loads here, 

" Now take as much as you can carry !" 

Patf look'd around him, with a smile, 
And saw an open room revealing 

The precious metal, pile on pile, 
Bright rising to the painted ceiling. 

With one quick, wild, electric leap 

He bounded towards the treasure glowing, 

* Ancient Irish drinking cup. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 19 

And, diving in the dazzling heap, 

Fill'd hat and pockets overflowing. 
" Make haste ! young friend," the dark man cries, 

"I mark the golden sun's returning, 
"And in the misty eastern skies 

" I see the virgin star of morning. 
"Take my best blessing on thy head ! 
" Go and be happy, Patt O'Leary ! 
" And don't for once, delay to wed 

"My great-granddaughter, Mountain Mary ! 
" That nobly-born Dalcassian girl — 

" It pierced my anxious heart with sorrow, 
"To think she'd wed a Saxon churl, 

"And stain the blood of MacNamara.* 
* ' Go, take her to thy manly breast, 

" Despite of her degenerate father ; 
" And long may you and she be blest, 

" In wedlock's faithful bonds together. 
"My name were clouded with disgrace, 

" If she were doomed to wed with any, 
"The sordid, treach'rous, perjured race 

"That robb'd us of our patrimony 1" 
He said, and led him from the hall, 
Just as the morn began to render 
Her first, faint golden tinge to all 

The rich surrounding scene of splendour. 
An odorous wind the tree-tops stirr'd, 

Flinging their honied drops before him ; 
And in their boughs, each radiant bird, 

Appear 'd a singing jewel, o'er him. 
Patt glanced around, with many a shirk, 

And stroked his beard, and rubb'd his throttle ; 
Drew out his knife and fell to work 

At cutting down a hazel wattle. 
The dark man spoke, with flashing brow — 

"Hurry, lest danger may come o'er thee ! 
"Lo ! yonder is thy lucky cow, 

"Go quick, and drive her on before thee !" 
Patt gazed at drimin, with surprise, 

As from the mead he ran to charge her, 
She look'd so monstrous, in his eyes, 
No three fat cows, in Clare, were larger. 
* A tradition, current in Clare, relates that Sheeda MacNamara. one of 
the Lords of Clancuilen, was carried into Cullane Lake by a lake horse 
which he had caught and tamed for his own use. This romantic transaction 
occurred when the chieftain was on a hunting excursion in the districts 
adjoining the lake. The rock from which the unnatural animal leaped, 
oearing his rider to a watery grave, is still pointed out by the peasantry, 
having the impression of horse-shoes visible on its surface. It is believed 
that he resides in the lake, like O'Donoghue in that of Killarney ; and the 
legend farther says, that Sheeda will yet appear at the head of a Dalcas- 
sian army, to assist in the regeneration of Ireland. There are more delusive 
propbwiaB of this sort in circulation. 



20 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The silent glory of the dawn 

Blush'd thro' the white mist's floating curls, 
Covering alley, grove, and lawn, 

With molten gold and liquid pearls ! 
Breathing a melody of joy, 

Thro' amber beds the streams were flowing, 
Appearing to the wondering eye, 

Like silver in a furnace, glowing. 
Large, radiant flowers laugh'd off their sweets 

To gales, in love around them dying, 
And 'mid the sylvan, grand retreats, 

Myriads of airy harps were sighing ! 
Such were the scenes Patt's eye beheld, 

The heaven-created valley leaving ; 
He mark'd, with brimful sorrow fill'd, 

The trees a lasting farewell waving ! 

Now towards the entrance gate he drew, 

The dark man flung it wide asunder ; 
Patt, blind with gushing tears, pass'd thro', 

And heard it close in clanging thunder. 
He look'd behind — the scene was gone — 

A thrill of wonder gather'd o'er him ; 
For, nothing save the blue Lake shone, 

With all its silver curls, before him. 
Was it a splendid dream of youth ? 

No ; let the sneering world doubt him, 
For he had tokens of its truth, 

In golden evidence, about him ! 
Was he not independent now ? — 

His bosom swell'd with lofty pleasure, 
As thinking where, or what, or how, 

He might expend his ample treasure. 
He twirl'd his hazel in the air, 

And felt as playful as a fairy, 
As ofF he tramp'd to Tulla fair, 

To meet his darling Mountain Mary. 
He wonder'd why his beard had grown, 

In one short night, so large and lengthy ; 
It seem'd as if 'twere never mown 

During his days, for summers twenty. 

When he arrived at Tulla fair, 

He sold his cow, and sought his Mary ; 
And half the boys and girls of Clare, 

Rush'd to shake hands with Patt O'Leary. 
" Arrah ! where were you, this whole year, Patt? 

" Oh ! welcome home 1 you darling jewel ! 
" Twelve months away — by this and that — 

" You've treated your poor Mary cruel 1" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 21 

"Where is my Colleen ?" Patt replied, 

Wheeling his stick and wildly leaping ; 
"I'm here !" the joyful maiden cried, 

Clasping his outstretch'd hand, and weeping. 
" Oh ! Patt ! mo bochaill, tell me now ! 

"Where did you go ? why did you leave me ? 
"I thought you wouldn't break your vow — 

"I thought you never would deceive me !" 
He gazed, astonish'd, at the maid, 

His sparkling blue eyes stared and started ; 
"Why, zounds ! sure 'twas last night," he said, 

"Since, at the heather bank, we parted !" 
" 'Twas last night twelve months !" Mary cried, 

" Ask all your friends, the Macs and Learys ; 
"And sure 'twas rumour 'd, far and wide, 

"That you were taken by the fairies 1" 
"Faith ! 'tis a year or more, at least, 

" Since you were miss'd !" said Darby Drury : 
" By heaven ! I wouldn't b'lieve the Priest !" 

Roar'd Patt, with one wild burst of fury. 
"Mary, my darling Colleen Ogef 

"In joy or grief, you're always pleasant ; 
"When did you see that Saxon rogue ? 

" Or is he in the fair at present ?" 
" He's at the fair !" the maid replied, 

"I saw him lately, with my father ; 
"Near yonder meadow's dewy side 

" They met and talk'd, an hour, together ; 
"My father, on my marriage bent, 

" Press'd me, with many a soft persuasion ; 
" But I refused to give consent, 

" With many a tear and sly evasion ! 
"He swore, he'd force his stern command, 

' ' To make me wed a heartless ' ruffian ;' 
"But, ere I'd give the churl my hand, 

"My bridal bed would be the coffin ! ft 
" Mary !" said Patt, before we part, 

"This very day we shall be wed ; 
"And for their plans to break your heart, 

"I'll break the Saxon fellow's head!" 

Into a tent he shoved the crowd, 

A roaring scene of mirth begun ; 
Tom Ryan tuned his bagpipes loud, 

And played the soothing Drinan Donn ; 
Patt pranced with Mary, up and down, 

And startled pipes and piper fairly ; 
' You squeaking devil, change your tune — 

" Give us * The Wind that shakes the Barley /' 
The Captain furiously rush'd in, 

And fiercely swore — ' * By heavens, Mary ! 



22 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

" I'll shoot you dead, if once again 

"I see you with that scamp, O'Leary !" 
Roar'd Patt — ''You sordid, heartless brute; 

" That never had a manly feeling ! 
" Take a return of your salute !" 

He said, and knock'd the Captain reeling. 
His servant to the barrack ran, 

Proclaiming the eventful story ; 
Out rush'd the redcoats, every man, 

With bayonets fix'd for war and glory. 
At once a conflict scour'd the fair ! 

Sticks flew, as if a sudden storm 
Had blown a forest thro' the air ; 

On every side inflicting harm ; 
Foreheads were scalp'd, and heads were whack'd, 

Eyes bump'd, and arms dislocated ; 
Faces tattooed, and noses crack'd, 

And friends and foes alike prostrated. 
Patt, with his wattle of the Lake, 

Clear'd the whole fair-green, in a minute ; 
A foeman fell, at every flake, 

As if a ten-horse power was in it. 
The Captain's foil'd — the close of night 

Beheld the Reverend Father Cleary, 
Reading the sacred nuptial rite 

For honest Patt and faithful Mary. 



THE ANGEL'S VISIT. 

In the calm, still haze of a sweet spring eve, 

When the dew-pearls whiten'd the plain ; 
I sat on the bank, where the fairies weave 

The gossamer's spangled chain ; 
While the stream croon'd a hymn by the shore's green rim 

Where virgin spring-buds listen'd 
'Mid the vernal blades, and their roseate heads 

With crystal circlets glisten'd ! 
The sun's red ring in the dreamy West, 

With a saffron veil was shaded ; 
And his burning crown, as he sank to rest, 

To a glittering ember faded ; 
While behind me, in the dark North skies, 

Was a lovely rainbow glowing ; 
With cloudlets, steep'd in its triple dyes, 

Round its diamond crescent flowing. 
And that heavenly crescent grew and glow'd 

With a richer and purer ray, 
Like a diadem dropp'd from the brow of God, 

While watching His angels' play. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 23 

And the saffron veil which the sun had worn, 

With a ruddier gold-tinge shone ; 
Like the crimson glance of a wintry morn, 

When the frosty mists are gone ; 
And the hills — the grand eternal hills — *• 

Have their beautiful snow-crowns on. 

My spirit was steep'd in the sunset charm, 

And I saw, 'mid the yellow gloaming, 
A glorious white-robed maiden form 

Out of the sun-mist coming ! 
And she floated along over field and wood, 

With her snow-cloud garment splendid ; 
Till before me in the blue air she stood, 

Above the calm meadow, suspended. 
The wavy rings of her glistening curls 

Fell down, like a star-beam's glow, x 

On the dazzling cluster of rose-hued pearls 

That burn'd on her robe of snow, ^ J 

Whose billowy folds, like a sunburst grand, • jj? 

Far under her feet were waving ; ^ 

Till she seem'd 'mid a sparkling surge to stand, 

With its foam-fringe round her heaving. 

Long, long ago, in my youth's May hours, 

When the dreams of my soul were bright ; 
I flung her one of my heart's wild flowers 

That grew in her beauty's light ; 
But she died ere this mournful Earth had given 

One tear her young eye to gem ; 
For her beautiful sisters above in heaven, 

Ask'd God to call her to them. 
With the glow of Paradise in her eyes, 

And its love on her sweet face playing ; 
She linger'd, above me in the skies, 

From the Land of the angels straying. 
For she came to show me a glimpse of the joy 

Which God gives the virtuous-hearted ; 
Then she sail'd, like a white star, back to the sky, 

And thro' its gray shadows departed. 

As o'er a deep lake floats a beauteous swan, 

Thro 5 aerial mist she sped ; 
And smiling look'd up as she glided on, 

Mid the splendour that round her spread ; 
Along the galaxy's snowy height, 

On a silver line she trod, 
O'er the rainbow's purple rim of light, 

On her way to the Palace of God. 



24 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE FAIRY BRIDAL. 

A LEGEND OF KILLEELY. * 

O'er thy waves, lordly Shannon, the May moon is high, 

And the stars, round her silver throne, dance in the sky 

On green Monabraher the cold dew is white, 

And Killeely's tombs peep thro' the gray mist of night. 

No signs of existence the stillness divide 

From the gloomy churchyard to the dark river side ; 

Save the shriek of the owl or the lone night-winds' sigh, 

Or the hoarse, hollow croon of the stream rushing by. 

The motionless shadows lie silent and deep, 

As the dark "narrow house" where the dead is asleep ; 

And the ghastly plains, steep'd in the moon's hazy sheen, 

Seem changing to pearl their garments of green. 

But, who on the silent shore wanders alone, 

And wrings his pale hands, with a loV pensive groan, 

Looking towards the churchyard where the blue meteors shine ? 

'Tis Cathol MacCurtin,t the Bard of O'Brien. 

Ah ! well the beholder might read in his face 

The heart-rooted sorrow that banish'd his peace ; 

Deep sorrow for Ellen, the loveliest maid 

That e'er in the dust of Killeely was laid. 

When the youths and the maidens, last sunny May morn, 

Held their summer sports under the fragrant white thorn ; 

They crowned gentle Ellen their beauteous May Queen, 

And a lovelier or fairer one never was seen. 

But a chilly cloud suddenly darken'd the sun, 

And a cold, gloomy squall shook the trees, and was gone ; 

And young Ellen was lifted above the green plain 

On the wings of that weird blast, and dash'd down again. 

Then motionless on the damp sward she reclined, 

With a mist on her eyes, and a cloud on her mind ; 

And her voice had a dreary sepulchral tone, 

As if that wild squall had just left her its own. 

Her weeping companions assisted her home, 

And laid her to rest in her white cottage-room ; 

* The fields of Killeely are traditionally celebrated as favourite haunts of 
the Fairy tribe. 

f Sir "Walter Scott, in his notes to Rokeby, speaks of MacCurtin as a 
minstrel of high ability. He was Bard to Donough O'Brien of Thomond, 
but' on the submission of that chief to the English power, MacCurtin 
indignantly satirised his degeneracy of spirit and quitted his house. 
O'Brien, wrought to passion by the severity of the satire, vowed vengeance 
on the spirited Bard, who flew for protection to MacCarthy, prince of 
Desmond, and received honour and support at the hands of that noble and 
generous Chieftain. Some time after, O'Brien met the^Bard, and a recon- 
ciliation was the result of the meeting. He died in \^$>& after the "Flight 
of the Earls," and at the time of the wholesale c^Bfiscations of the finest 
lands of Ireland. ,* ' ■;**' ' 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 25 

But ere the sun sank to his ocean repose, 

The caoine, for the lovely departed one, rose. 

And the matrons, who scatter'd wild flowers on her bed, 

Declared that they knew not the face of the dead. 

And, an herb-woman said that in Greenaun's lone dell 

The beauteous young Ellen was living and well ; 

That the power of the Fairies the dear one convey'd 

To their monarch, who long was in love with the maid ; 

That the pale wither'd corpse, which was deck'd with such 

care, 
Was a fairy, instead of the maiden, left there. 
And, whoever would watch for nine nights, on the plain, 
By the river, would rescue young Ellen again. 

And, each night, since the coffin was laid in the grave, 

Her lover has stray'd by the wild river-wave ; 

With his heart's weary hope in dark war with despair, 

Expecting his Ellen would come to him there. 

But the dim moonlight fog, and the sad bird of night, 

And the cold stars, were all that appear'd to his sight ; 

The river roll'd on, with its deep sullen tone, 

And the landscape slept, 'round it, all lovely and lone. 

Now, the ninth weeping night, o'er the broad Shannon, threw 

Its mist-skirted shadows of silver and blue ; 

And the fallen clouds mantled the river and plain, 

From lonely Killeely to shady Par teen. 

The Aurora Borealis was shooting on high 

Its arrows of flame in the Nor-th's sullen sky. 

And the moonbeam, that on the cold river-haze shone, 

Like a broad silver belt, o'er the waters was thrown. 

The bell has toll'd twelve, and the world is at rest, 

And the white moon has travell'd half-way to the West ; 

And a tall female figure appears by the tide, 

But, her step leaves no track on the bank's dewy side ; 

And her thin airy robe looks so white and so cold, 

The light of the moon seems to freeze in each fold. 

Her person speaks beauty, her bearing is proud, 

And she moves like the shade of a golden May cloud. 

Yet her dim, aerial form no shadow hath cast, 

And, the dew lies unstirr'd on the grass where she pass'd. 

And, Cathol springs forward the fair one to greet, 

But he stands as if magic had fetter'd his feet. 

And his hair grows erect, and his blood seems to freeze, 

For, it is not his own gentle Ellen he sees ; 

But, one whose dark'shadowy grandeur of face 

Resembled the deep solemn aspect of space, 

Thro' the parted clouds seen, on a cold night of snow, 

When Earth lies in silence and whiteness below. 

And her voice — like the wind on a blue autumn-hill, 

Sighing o'er the brown fern — was dismal and shrill. 



26 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

" Young Minstrel of Thomond's green valleys ! by me, 
Thy Ellen commissions a message to thee ; 
She bids thee, conducted by me, to repair 
To the grand Fairy hall of the Palace of Air ; 
And bear her away from the spells of the King, 
Ere he puts on her finger the bright wedding ring !" 

Then, Cathol replied — " Oh ! whoever thou art, 
Conduct me, at once, to the maid of my heart ; 
Where'er be her dwelling, in air, earth, or sea, 
Tho' life were the forfeit, I'll go there with thee ! 
From my home, by the clear-flowing Fergus, I strayed, 
To the banks of the Shannon, to woo the young maid ; 
But since the sweet colleen was stolen away, 
The sky is my roof and my couch is the clay ; 
In O'Brien's proud hall there's no sweet voice of song, 
And the angry Chief wonders what keeps me so long !" 

Then, she laid on his arm her chill snowy hand, 
And lifted him up from the green dewy strand ; 
As the hawk bears the lark, or an eagle a hare, 
She upheld him, and bore him along thro' the air ; 
Towards the old ruin'd Church of Killeely* she bends, 
And on the green skirt of the graveyard descends. 
And Cathol stood gazing, in voiceless surprise, 
Where a palace, in glory, arose on his eyes ; 
Its windows and walls were with diamonds illumed, 
And its halls with the brightest of roses perfumed ; 
The towers were like crystal, and rising so high, 
Their tall heads were lost in the blue of the sky. 
The pillars were silver, the ceilings rich coral, 
The doors purest gold, and the floor whitest pearl ; 
The walls, like a spring-sky, transparently blue, 
Let the light of the moon and the star-lustre thro'. 

Thro' the rich halls of splendour the minstrel was led 

To a pompous saloon where a banquet was spread ; 

The tables were flaming with silver and gold, 

And so laden with dainties, no more could they hold. 

Ladies and Lords of distinction were there, 

With bright looks of pleasure, that never knew care ; 

And Heroes that oft led the battle's advance, 

And, white-headed Ollamhs, and Knights of the lance. 

* The ancient church of Killeely was founded by St. Leila, the sister of 
St. Munchion. It stood near the north-west bank of the Shannon, in the 
County of Clare, and not far from the western suburbs of Limerick. There 
is not a vestige of the old church remaining. Cromwell dismantled it, and 
used the stones in erecting forts while besieging Limerick. Her sister, Rose, 
l|pilt the little Church of Kilrush, now known as Old Church, the residence 
m the Hon. Robert O'Brien ; and her younger brother, Quaan, built the 
venerable Church of Kilquaan, commonly known as Parteen. In Killeely, 
lie interred the remains of the great Irish Historian, Sylvester O'Halloran. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND, 27 

There were dancing and laughing, and music and wine, 
And robes flashing rich with the wealth of the mine : 
And healths drank, and songs sung, and high toasts proposed, 
And war feats recited, and love feats disclosed. 

So vast was the number of guests in that hall, 
His dazzled eye fail'd to distinguish them all ; 
But many he knew, whose cold ashes were laid, 
For years, in the dark silent house of the dead ; 
Noble chiefs slain in battle, and maids who died young, 
Whose biers he attended — whose requiems he sung — 
Were all there, as blooming, elated and gay, 
As if Life gave new beauty and fire to their clay. 

He had seen in MacCarthy's high palace of pride, 
Gallant chieftains and lords at the banquet preside ; 
He had seen beauteous women and chivalrous men, 
In the old regal halls of renown'd Inchiquin. 
He had been, in his travels, thro' rich Inisfail, 
In the grand festive mansion of kingly O'Neill : 
But never, till now, did his wonder-struck sight 
Behold an assemblage so gorgeous and bright. 

The Red Hand of Nial and the proud Flag of Clare, 

With their mottoes " Lamh Dearg" and " Lamh Ladir" were 

there ; 
And the Sunburst, that Brian to victory bore, 
Flash'd between, with its radiant field sprinkled with gore. 
And the Bard, as the old banners glanced on his view, 
Wildly shouted, " Lamh Dearg ! and Lamh Ladir ! Aboo !"* 
At once, to their feet, all the nobles upsprung, 
And the hall with the thunder of clashing steel rung ; 
And the banners were grasp'd, and each Knight struck his 

targe, 
And the wild ringing " Bar a Boo" sounded the charge ; 
But, a sage-looking herald, with beard white and long, 
Leapt amongst them, and cool'd down the fire of the throng. 

Then, the solemn and shadowy Spirit that led 

The steps of the Bard to the halls of the Dead ; 

Caught up his right hand and poured out on its palm 

A sweet fairy ointment, of magical balm ; 

And pointed to where, by the King's jewell'd throne, 

A large golden harp on the crystal wall shone ; 

With those words written o'er it, in letters of light, 

Which were traced by the hand of some star-haunting sprite ; 

" Whoever shall strike this great Harp's magic string, 

Shall vanquish the power of the dread Fairy King /" 

* The war«crie« of the O'Neills and the O'Briens. 



28 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Then, Mac Curtin, embolden'd, press'd on thro' the hall, 
Amid bright ranks of ladies and nobles, and all ; 
And advanced to the foot of the diamond-built throne, 
Where the large golden harp on the crystal wall shone. 
On that throne sat the monarch, resplendently crown'd, 
With his marshals, and nobles, and heralds, around ; 
On his left his high-gifted Ard Filea was seen, 
On his right sat young Ellen, elected his Queen ; 
The Bard made obeisance, and bowed himself down, 
The King, in acknowledgment, bent his rich crown ; 
But Ellen, alternately blush'd, and grew pale, 
And shaded her face in her white bridal veil. 
MacCurtin still kept on the gold harp his glance, 
The guards drew their swords and oppos'd his advance ; 
And the noise of the revelry ceased thro' the hall, 
And, they sat as if terror had frozen them all. 

The Bard never heeded but stretch'd forth his hand, 

And took down the instrument, radiant and grand ; 

And touched its weird chords, whose wild, wonderful sound 

Made the towers and the shining halls tremble around ; 

The guests started up and looked on, in surprise, 

With their wrapt, listening souls rushing out from their eyes, 

While the Bard struck the magical strings to the tune 

Of that angel of harmony, " Eilleen Aroon /" 

Fixed as statues stood herald, and noble, and knight, 

And the ladies fell off in a swoon of delight ; 

And Ellen flung by her rich diadem of pride, 

And sprung from the throne to her loved Cathol's side, 

Who clasp'd her, and cried out, "Oh ! King ! be it known, 

Thy spells are subdued, and this maid is my own !" 

Then the monarch grew wrathful, and leaped from his throne, 

And broke the gold harp of the wonderful tone ; 

A murmur arose, and a shadow of gloom, 

Like a thundercloud, swept o'er the sheen of the room. 

The crow of a cock on the night-gale was heard, 
The palace thrice rock'd, and the lights disappear'd ; 
And a voice cried aloud, " It is day ! it is day !" 
And the guests rush'd, confusedly and wildly, away. 
The rich diamond walls into vapour were thrown, 
And Cathol was left, with his Ellen, alone. 



IRISH BEAUTY AND EASTERN PERIS. 

Air. — "Send round the wine." 

Oh ! I think, when I see thy bright amber locks stream, 
like the light sunset haze, o'er the snow of thy breast, 

Of jtfeoBe* Peris of love that our Bard, in his dream, 
gad seeirm .the rich pearl-isles of the East. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 29 

But if ever a Peri, of beauty and light, 

Delighted to play 'mid the beams of the moon ; 

I'd swear thou wert one, had I seen thee, at night, 
Mid the odours of May or the roses of June. 

Had his wizard-eye seen the young dawn of thy smiles — 

In thy springday of beauty — he never would roam 
To sing Peri-spells in the East's pearl-isles, 
( And forget he had Peris more lovely at home. 
J He may boast of the beauty that smiles in the East ! 

Yet we know not what dross may be mix'd with the ore 
But here, in our own sunny Isle of the West, 

We have beauty and virtue — could angels have more ? 

Yes ! virtue as pure as the morning's first gleam ! 

And lips rich and sweet as the flowers of the grove ; 
And eyes breathing spells in their heart-melting beam ! 

And bright faces made to the image of love. 
Then drink to our own Irish girls, and pray 

That the sun of their beauty may never have night ; 
But shine on undimm'd thro' their life's rosy day, 

With the snow of their virtue still pure in its light. 



YOUNG ELLEN OF THE GROVE. 

How blushing and bright the calm, sweet, summer morn 
Beholds her red face in the stream's glossy sheen ; 

The light zephyrs breathe on the white flowering thorn, 
And waste all its sweets round the dew sheeted green. 

The lark pours his hymn 'mid the clouds' yellow splendour 
The brown willow nods o'er the river's blue rim ; 

The wild rose peeps out from its brier-throne, so slender, 
With the weight of its dewy crown bending its stem. 

Bloom on, ye young flowers, in the fields' vernal shadows ! 

Sing on, ye wild songsters, to nature and love ! 
'Twas here 'mid the bright summer light of those meadows, 

I first saw young Ellen, the Queen of the Grove. 

White was her breast of love, red was her lip above, 
Rich was her cheek, like a flower in full blow ; 

Graceful and bright o'er her eye's dancing light 
Rose her brow, like a lily bent over a^sloe. 

" Queen of the sunny locks ! hear me ! oh, hear me! ' 
Wert thou sent to the earth on a mission of love ? 

What news from the angels? oh ! sweet one, come near meJT 
And tell me some tale of thy sisters above 1" 



30 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

One kind smile I wanted — the favour was granted — 
Then off thro' the wild-flowers she sprung, like a roe ; 

And the daisy-bells sweet seem'd to gaze at her feet, 
Admiring their shape, and comparing their snow. 

When Nature all glowing with sunshine and showers, 
Awoke from the couch of her wintry repose ; 

She smiled on the green earth, and forth blush 'd the flowers, 
She gazed on young Ellen, and painted the rose. 



MONABRAHER.* 

Air. — " Gamavilla." 

Fairy shades of Monabraher ! 

Airy meads of Monabraher ! 
There the skylark pours his earliest song, 

To welcome spring in Monabraher. 
Oh ! many a lovely summer's eve, 

Whilst fell the sunset's deepening shadows ; 
I lingered by the pale blue wave, 

To breathe the sweetness of thy meadows. 

Fairy shades of Monabraher, &c. 

'Twas there my heart's first dream of love 

Took many a fairy-wing'd transition ; 
And wild imagination wove 

Her sunny webs of golden vision. 
And when my young eye beauty sought, 

'Twas in thy airy shades I saw her ; 
And there my wrapt soul kindled thought 

That burst to song in Monabraher. 

Fairy shades of Monabraher, &c. 

Of all the sun-bright summer scenes 

That smile round Shannon's pleasant river ; 
Woodclad hills and shamrock plains, 

In Nature's beauty rich for ever : 
There's none can yield my heart such joy 

As Monabraher's meadows bowery ; 
There Love and Fancy lit my eye. 

And Nature taught me lessons flowery. 

Fairy shades of Monabraher, &c. 

* Moina-m-brathar, i.e., the Friars' Bog. It formerly belofcyrad to the 
Dominicans, and was the scene of a great battle, a descriptioitjUf-lrhich is 
to be found in this volume. Some years ago this historio* plain was 
beautified by Robert Hunt, Esq., J. P., of Limerick. He planted it with 
a great number of trees, which give it a fine woodland appearance. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 31 

DRAHERIN O MACHREE.* 

Am. — " Draherin O Machree." 

I grieve when I think on the dear happy days of my youth, 
When all the bright dreams of this faithless world seem'd truth ; 
When I strayed thro' the green wood, as gay as a midsummer- 
bee, 
In brotherly love with my Draherin Machree ! 

Together we lay in the sweet-scented meadows to rest, 
Together we watch'd the gay lark as he sung o'er his nest, 
Together we pluck'd the red fruit of the fragrant hawtree, 
And I loved, as a sweetheart, my Draherin Machree ! 

His form was straight as the hazel that grows in the glen, 
His manners were courteous, and social, and gay amongst men ; 
His bosom was white as the lily on summer's green lea — 
His God's brightest image was Draherin Machree ! 

Oh ! sweet were his words as the honey that falls in the night, 
And his young smiling face like the May-bloom was fresh, and 

as bright ; 
His eyes were like dew on the flower of the sweet apple-tree ; 
My heart's spring and summer was Draherin Machree ! 

He went to the wars when proud England united with France, f 
His regiment was first in the red battle-charge to advance ; 
But when night drew its veil o'er the gory and life-wasting fray, 
Pale, bleeding, and cold lay my Draherin Machree ! 

Oh ! if I were there, I'd watch over my darling's last breath ! 
I'd wipe his cold brow, and I'd soften his pillow of death ; 
I'd pour the hot tears of my heart's melting anguish o'er thee ! 
Oh ! blossom of beauty ! my Draherin Maclwee ! 

Perhaps, in his death-pangs, he wish'd that his loved one were 

near 
To clasp his cold hand, with a fond -breathing prayer, and a tear ! 
As he gasp'd all neglected, with none but his Maker to see, 
And pity, my poor dying Draherin Machree ! 

Now I'm left to weep, like the sorrowful bird of the night, 
This earth and its pleasures, no more shall afford me delight ; 
The dark narrow grave is the only sad refuge for me, 
Since I lost my heart's darling — my Draherin Machree ! 

My soul has exhausted its treasure of tears for my love ! 
He comes to my dreams, from his home in the regions above ; 
I long for the hour when my grief -worn spirit is' free, 
To meet in those regions my Draherin Machree 7 



* Little brother of my heart. 

t Referring to the Battle of Inkerraan, where this young Irishmai 



£ia 



32 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



THE PEASANT'S STORY. 

When showery's April's golden sky 
O'er Nature's birth shed tears of joy ! 
I strayed a happy, careless boy, 

By Garna's fairy river : 
My days were pearls in Time's bright flood, 
And my heart was like the honey bud, 
Fresh opening in the vernal wood, 

By Garna's fairy river.* 

But Love's young footstep left its trace 
Upon the calm dew of my peace, 
Since first I saw sweet Peggy's face, 

By Garna's fairy river. 
May morning, with her misty curls, 
Bright beaming on her throne of pearls, 
Could only peer my queen of girls, 

By Garna's fairy river. 

Sweet was the hour, and bright the day, — 
The corn waved an emerald sea, — 
When Peggy gave her heart to me, 

By Garna's fairy river. 
Her wedding guests were love and truth ; 
Her bridal hall, my humble hut ; 
Her dow'ry, beauty, health, and youth ; 

By Garna's fairy river. 

Like dewdrops on the shamrock sod, 
Our simple hearts with one light glow'd ; 
We lived and loved, and thank'd our God ! 

By Garna's fairy river." 
To know the world we had no wish — 
Our neighbours were the lark and thrush ; 
Our summer shade, the flowering bush, 

By Garna's fairy river. 

Thro' winter's showers and summer's sun, 
Our peaceful thread of life we spun ; 
And honest was the bread we won 

By Garna's fairy river : 
But tyranny our poor hut found, 
And razed its clay walls to the ground ; 
Oh ! God, what tears our young hopes drown'd ? 

By Garna's fairy river. 

* Literally O'Cearneigh. It flows thro' Six-mile-Bridge into tho 
Shannon, below Bunratty Castle. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 33 

That lowly hut to us had been 

As good as court to King and Queen ; 

While love and peace endear'd the scene 

By Garna's fairy river. 
Grief laid my blue-eyed Peggy low ; 
To lords and laws I turn'd a foe, 
And slew the author of our woe, 

By Garna's fairy river. 



BROWN-HAIRED JANE. 
Air. — " 'Gra Machree." 

The Moon behind the Cratloe hills 

Has hid her silver horn ; 
And o'er the dewy summer-woods 

Appears the yellow morn. 
The skylark high in heaven's blue fields, 

Sings sweet his early lay ; 
And Nature in her vernal arms 

Has clasp'd the bright young Day. 

Oh, kingly Sun ! that brightens heaven 

And drinks the sparkling dew ! 
And spreads a golden robe of light 

Upon the mountains blue : 
Yet, linger in thy radiant course 

Along the Western main ! 
And fling thy glory round the bark 

That bears my Brown-hair'd Jane ! 

Among green Meelick's dewy fern, 

In life's young dawn, we play'd ; 
Her smiles were like the rosy beams 

That gild the green wood shade ; 
Her eye was clearer than the spring 

That feeds"J;he woodland rills ; 
Her step was lighter than the haze 

That veils the autumn hills. 

Her hand was like the daisy's rim ; 

Her robe of stainless white ; 
Her brow like summer's moonlight-mist 

On Shannon's wave, at night ; 
Her cheek was softer than the dew 

On Coonagh's twilight plain — 
You'd think that Nature in a dream 

Conceived my Brown-hair'd Jane. 

There's many a radiant maiden-flower 
In Cratloe's mountain-shades ; 

But she, the bright queen-rose of all, 
Is gone from Meelick's meads ; 



34 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And summer now looks on those fields, 

As if their sunny green 
Had lost its May-bloom glow, and died 

With grief for Brown-hair'd Jane. 

Among green Meelick's airy bowers 

Her homely father dwell'd ; 
Till one, he deem'd a kindred friend, 

Usurp'd the lands he held ; 
Then for Columbia's distant wilds 

He took the western main ; 
And far from Meelick's rural shades 

He bore my Brown-hair'd Jane. 



THE DEATH OF MOROGH. 

Dark Prince of the Dalgais ! high offspring of Heber ! 
Nerve of brass, never weary of battle's fierce labour ! 
Thou, in whose presence the mighty stood trembling, 
When hosts for the red work of death were assembling ! 
As the burning flash leaps from a thunder-cloud horrid, 
And shatters to fragments the mountain's black forehead ; 
Thus thro' the fierce battle-surge burst thy dread form, 
With the strength of the flash, and the sweep of the storm. 

'Round thy red path the brass-coated giants lay riven. 
With their blood-oozing death-wounds wide-gaping to heaven 
Thro' all the long day, 'mid the iron surge heaving, 
Thy axe of destruction was crashing and cleaving ; 
While, with wild eyes dilating, the fear-stricken foeman 
Stood pale in amaze at thy strength superhuman ;* 
He thought that some fire-arm'd Spirit of wonder, 
Leap'd down on his ranks, from the house of the thunder. 

Strong as the ocean-cliff — fleet as the beagle, 
Fierce as an angry god — proud as the eagle, 
Thou wert on that grim day of bloodshed and ruin, 
When hosts lay like grass that the mower is strewing ; 
When kings from the height of their glory were tumbled, 
And proud heads of tribes in the lowly dust humbled ; 
Thou hast stood like a hill, while the forests, that crown'd it, 
All blasted and broken, lay prostrate around it. 

'Mid the bursting of ranks and the smashing of armour, 
Thy axe hiss'd and tore, as the plough of the farmer 
Drives on thro' the field, the brown stubble upturning ; 
Or the rush of the flame when a city is burning. 

* Tradition relates that many of the Danes, on beholding the dreadful 
havoc and carnage committed by Morogh, at the Battle of Clontarf, stood 
paralysed with amazement. It is also said that the stroke of his battle-axe 
was heard distinctly, by spectators, ringing abore the tumult and clash of 
the conflict. 



.LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 35 

In the charge of the giants, thy step was the proudest ; 
'Mid the thunder of weapons, thy blow rung the loudest ; 
And thy steel made the gaps in the bleeding hosts deeper — 
Their squadrons were corn, but thou wert the reaper. 

To the cool spring the warrior retires from the slaughter, 
And bathes his swell'd hand in the crystal-bright water ; 
That hand in whose might lay the fate of a Nation, 
The fortune of battle — all Erin's salvation. 
On his armour the blood of the sea-kings is streaming, 
His fire-flashing eyes, like two meteors, are gleaming : 
With a thousand bold sword-strokes his cuirass is batter'd, 
And the plume of his helmet hangs broken, and shattered. 

With the rush of a whirlwind, he's back to the battle, 

Hark ! the clang and the crash of his blows, how they rattle ; 

Lo ! the clouds of the combat the fierce chief environ 

With a deluge of blood, and a tempest of iron ; 

Pile on pile, the invaders fall cloven before him, 

Behold, where he fights, a thick blood-mist is o'er him ; 

See round him the swords, how they dance, flash, and quiver, 

In one leaping flood, like the fall of a river, 

Hast thou heard the ice-mail of the winter-lake roaring, 
When a thick shower of hail on its surface is pouring ; 
While the thawing snow-flood, from the white hills, sweeps 

o'er it, 
And bursts the cold doors of its bondage before it ; 
The waves dancfe, like spirits of freedom new-risen ; 
And fling to the shore the gray wreck of their prison. 
So burst the mail'd ranks where fierce Morogh rush'd thro' 

them, 
So the iron-clad sea-giants groan'd as he slew them. 

The silver-hair'd Ruler of Erin, stands gazing 
On that death-cover'd plain, where the combat is blazing ; 
And he sees the dread war-axe of Satric the valiant, 
Hewing down the tall ranks of Clan Eoghain* the gallant ; 
And he cries, "Lo, yon giant ! my. .son, go defeat him J" 
And Morogh obeys, and springs forward to meet him ; 
He drives thro' the war, with the rush of the thunder ; 
And, thro' helmet and armour, cleaves Satric asunder. 

The sun to the ocean's red wave is retiring^; 
And the battle still rages with wrath unexpiring ; ^. 
But the chiefs of the north, with the jackets of mail, . 
Are all smash'd by the axes of mighty Clan Tail ;f 

* The Eugenians, clans of South Munster, of the stock of the MacCarthy 
More, descended from Eugene of Owen More, who conquered " Conn of the 
Hundred Battles," and compelled him to divide the country equally between 
them. 

t The Dalcassians, descended from Cormac Caa, the brothtr of Owen 
More. 



36 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND, 

With their huge frames divided, they lie in grim ridges, 

Like oaks split asunder by strong iron wedges. 

On their mail, hack'd and shatter'd, their heart's blood is 

crusting, 
And their weapons, beside them, lie broken and rusting. 

By a mound of slain heroes, whose blood-gouts were raining, 
The fierce Morogh stands, 'gainst the horrid pile leaning ; 
His right hand — no longer his country's protection — 
Is swoll'n and powerless, from dealing destruction ; 
He glares all around, with the eye of a lion, 
From the host of Clan Tail to the tent of King Brian ; 
And his face, like a spirit's, with lightning seems burning, 
For the red scale of victory, for Erin, is turning. 

The Prince* of the Sea-Robbers stands to survey him, 
He sees him disabled, and rushes to slay him ; 
With war-axe uplifted and flashing, he came on, 
With the stride of a god, and the frown of a demon ; 
Morogh grasps the strong chief, with his left hand upswings 

him, 
And shakes off his armour, then prostrate he flings him ; 
Press'd the sword^thro' his frame — but the Dane, ere he died, 
Grasp'd the skian of great Morogh, and opened his side. 

As falls a round tower by a thunder-bolt riven, 

When the Lord, in his wrath, scatters lightning thro' heaven ; 

From its site, with a circle of dark oaks surrounded, 

It shrinks from the rage of the heaven that crown'd it. 

Thus stretch'd on the plain, by his foeman's side, dying, 

The glory and hope of Mononia is lying ; 

His eye with the last spark of valour is blazing, 

And still on the breast of the battle he's gazing. 

Wrap his cochal around him, his death-wound to cover ! 
Hide his fall — keep your tears, till the combat is over ! 
Bear him off on your shields to the tent of his father, 
As they lived, let them die in their glory, together. 
To the hearts of the mighty their fall shall bring sorrow ! 
Air Erin shall weep for the heroes to-morrow. 
No more shall their right hands be lifted to save her ! 
And clothe her with glory, and crush her enslaver ! 

Dread cleaver of armies — red plague of invaders ! 
Strong rock of Mononia's fierce legions and leaders ! 
How may I describe the wild anguish and sorrow, 
When the news of thy fall had arrived at Kinkora ? 

* Anrudh, Prince of Denmark. This mighty chief was clad from ankle 
to bead with heavy brass armour, which Morogh shook off his body, as de- 
scribed in the text. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 37 

Where the Bards, who assembled to hail thy returning, 
Flung away their gold harps, and shriek'd wild with their 

mourning ; 
While Tail's royal maids smote their bosoms of whiteness, 
And tore from their tresses the diamonds of brightness. 

Thou hast fallen, with thy ripe fruit of glory around thee, 
At the moment when victory was rushing to crown thee ; 
When Death, like a fierce wolf by slaughter o'erfeasted, 
Grew sick with the life-blood thy dreadful hand wasted. 
Thy steel on the red plain left many a sleeper, 
The harvest is gather'd, but where is the reaper ? 
Woe ! woe to Leath Mogha — woe ! woe to Leath Cuinn !* 
The victory has cover'd all Erin with ruin. 

Must the brave troops of Thomond return without thee ! ' 

That strode to the combat, like tigers, about thee ? 

And scour'd the dread field, with the bright Sunburst o'er them, 

Each a sea-wave, and you, like a tall ship, before them ; 

Oh ! fierce was their battle, when Morogh began it, 

Their axes would shatter a mountain of granite ; 

Two nations in arms would scarcely have stay'd them, 

In the rush of their valour, when Morogh would lead them. 

They'll throng round thy death-couch, with swords grim and 

gory, 
All fresh from the work of their harvest of glory ; 
But thou shalt not see them, nor 'wake from thy sleeping, 
At the groan of their grief or the wail of their weeping. 
Kinkoraf may weep, but her towers are not sounder 
Than the halo of fame that thy deeds have flung round her ; 
Long shall Valour remember, and Freedom regret thee ! 
But the widows of Denmark shall never forget thee ! 

Oh ! Hand of Munificence — Foot of Agility ! 

Heart of Benevolence ! Soul of Nobility ! 

Unbounded in valour ! unrivall'd in daring ! 

Iron tower in the van of the armies of Erin ! 

Could you 'wake to behold the Ipv'd land you defended — ' 

The land where the reign of thy father was splendid ; 

The land which you fought for, in battle defiant, 

And clove with thy broad axe the iron-clad giant. 

* The two divisions of the Kingdom of Ireland made between Mogha 
Nugat, or Eogain More, King of Munster, and Conn of the Hundred Battles. 
Leath Mogha signifies Mogha' s half, and Leath Cuinn, Conn's half. 

t The palace of Brian, which stood on the bank of the Shannon, near 
Killaloe. It was twice destroyed, first by MacLoughlin, Prince of Aileach, 
and secondly by Torlogh O'Connor, King of Connaught. See a deHcription 
of it« destruction in this volume. No vestige of it now remains, except 
the circular mound, supposed to be a part of the great banquet-hall. 



38 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

From your grave, which the long grass of ages has shaded, 
Could you wake, to behold her now sunk and degraded ! 
You'd shrink from the vile sight of bondage before you, 
And call on the tomb shades again to close o'er you. 
Gone — gone from Green Eire are her spirits of boldness, 
But the Saxon is there with corruption and coldness ; 
And those who would fling from her neck the curst halter, 
Are treated as felons, or bann'd from the altar. 

The Isle of the Brave is a graveyard and prison, 
Where the cottage has sunk, and the poorhouse has risen ; 
And the people of God are swept off and replaced, 
In the land of their love, by the boor and the beast ; 
Black Famine is yearly commission'd to slay them ; 
>And those whom they look to for justice, betray them ; 
No Prophet — no Saviour — no gleam of salvation 
To rouse or redeem the dead soul of the nation. 



SHANNON'S SPANGLED BANKS AND BOWERS. 

Shannon's spangled banks and bowers 

Are beautiful to see, Mary ! 
Shannon's fragrant fields and flowers 

Are beautiful to me, Mary ! 
But beauty's light more soft reposes 
On thy dimpled cheek of roses, 
Where the blush of love discloses 

Brighter charms in thee, Mary. 
Lo ! the rich May-sunset's beaming, 
And its red gold tinge is gleaming, 
Where the folded flowers are dreaming,' 

O'er the bowery lea, Mary ! 

Come by Shannon's pale blue wave, 

Fresh and pure as thou, Mary ! 
And the roseate lips of eve 

Shall kiss thy virgin brow, Mary ! 
Come — Love's vestal star is glowing, 
And the woodland flower-balm flowing ; 
And the cool, fresh May-wind, blowing, 

Scarcely waves a bough, Mary ! 
Come — the twilight sweets invite us ; 
Summer's vernal scenes delight us ! 
Nature's beauty shall requite us, 

For our wanderings now, Mary ! 

Day, on the crimson verge of heaven, 

Has left his golden zone, Mary ! 
See the blushing face of even, 

Is rosy as thine own, Mary ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 39 

Mark, an azure shadow lowers 

O'er old Luimnoch's flood-girt towers ; 

Where King William's banded powers 

Were foil'd, and overthrown, Mary ! 
There, 'mid ruin's red hail teeming, 
Limerick's glorious blue-eyed women ! 
Turn'd the fight, and dashed the foemen 

From the noble town, Mary ! 

Heard you how the heroines stood 

Before the flaming balls, Mary ? 
Beauty shed her purest blood, 

Fighting for those walls, Mary ! 
Heaven and earth have heard the story — 
See those fields, once damp and gory ! 
There was Valour link'd with Glory, 

Marching to her halls, Mary ! 
And — but Treachery betrayed her — 
'Midst the conquests that array'd her ! 
Never would the false Invader 

Stand within her walls, Mary ! 

At the tale, thy cheek's wild rose 

Beams more fresh and bright, Mary ! 
And thy sparkling blue eye glows 

With a lovelier light, Mary ! 
Would'st thou meet the cannon's flashing ? 
Stand before the war-ranks dashing ? 
Brave the gory falchions' clashing ? 

For poor Erin's right, Mary ! 
But thy fair, white breast may nourish 
Sons, who will their country cherish ! 
And, for her the bright steel flourish, 

Yet, in Freedom's fight, Mary ! 



COME TO THE MOUNTAINS. 

Now Summer is green o'er the vale, and* the mountain-grove, 

The lily is white in the woodland, so airy, 
Come, let us wander by Callan's blue fountain, love ! 
Come, in thy blushes, my beautiful Mary ! 

Maid of the shining locks ! 

Come to the flowery rocks ! 
Come to the hills where the sunbeam reposes ! 

'Mid Nature's wild grandeur, 

We'll joyfully wander, 
By Callan's blue wave, and its banks of wild rosea. 



40 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The brier's snowy blossom the dale is adorning ! 

O'er flower-scented wold trips the light-footed fairy ! 
The blue mist is pluming the helmet of morning, — 
Nature looks sweet like my beautiful Mary ! 

Maid of the beamy eyes ! 

Soft as the sunny skies ! 
Thy love-sharing smiles are like honey on roses ! 

Thy foot falls as light 

As the silver of night, 
That gleams on the moss where the heath-flower reposes. 

The sweet morning work of the dairy is done, love ! 

Thou'rt free for a while from thy rural employment ; 
Thy butter is made and thy flax is all spun, love ! . 
A stroll thro' the meadows will give thee enjoyment ! 

I'll slip thro' the corn, 

And wait near the thorn 
That o'er the bright well waves its green, dewy shadow ; 

And, lest any should mind — 

Keep a sharp look behind, — 
Steal round the boreen, and we'll meet in the meadow. 

I'll gather the blue-bells, to wreathe thy dark ringlets, 

Near the streams, where the white water-lilies are sleeping 
We'll pluck the pale rose, where the zephyr's light winglets, 
The fresh flowery side of the wild Lake, are sweeping. 

Then come to the mountain's 

Dark glens, and bright fountains ! 
And, we'll trace on the red heath the rings of the fairy ! 

And I'll tell you a story 

Of Erin's past glory ! 
As we wander together, my beautiful Mary ! 



BRIAN'S LAMENT FOR KING MAHON. 

Lament, O Dalcassians ! the Eagle of Cashel is dead ! 
The grandeur, the glory, and joy of her Palace is fled ! 
Your strength in the battle — your bulwark of valour is low ! 
But the fire of your vengeance shall fall on the murderous foe ! 

His country was mighty — his people were blest in his reign, 
But the ray of his glory shall never shine on them again ; 
Like the beauty of summer, his presence gave joy to our souls, 
When the Bards sung his deeds at the banquet of bright golden 
bowls. 

Ye maids of Temora, whose rich garments sweep the green 
•lain! 



plain! 
> chiefs of 



Ye chiefs of the Sunburst, the terror and scourge of the Dane ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 41 

Ye gray-hair'd Ard ffileas! whose songs fire the blood of the 

brave ! 
Oh ! weep, for your Sun-Star is quenched in the night of the 

grave ! 

He clad you with honors — he fill'd your high hearts with de- 
light ! 

In the midst of your councils he beam'd, in his wisdom, and 
might ! 

Gold, silver, and jewels were only as dust in his hand ! 

But his sword, like a lightning-flash, blasted the foes of his land! 

Oh, Mahon ! my brother ! we've conquer'd and marched, side 

by side, 
And you were to the love of my soul as a beautiful bride ! 
In the battle, the banquet, the council, the chase, and the 

throne, 
Our beings were blended — our spirits were filled with one tone! 

Oh, Mahon ! my brother ! you've died, like the hind of the 

wood ! 
The hands of assassins were red with thy pure, noble blood ! 
And I was not near, my beloved ! when you were o'erpower'd, 
To steep in their hearts' blood the steel of my blue-beaming 

sword I 

I stood by the dark, misty river, at eve, dim and gray, 
And I heard the death-cry of the Spirit of gloomy Craighlea ;* 
She repeated thy name, in her wild caoine of desolate woe ! 
Then I knew that the Beauty and Joy of Clan Tail was laid 
low! 

All day and all night one dark vigil of sorrow I keep ! 

My spirit is bleeding with wounds that are many and deep ! 

My banquet is anguish, tears, groans, and the wringing of 

hands, 
In madness lamenting my Prince of the gold-hilted brands ! 

* Craighlea, near Killaloe, was supposed to be the dwelling-place of Oeb- 
hinn, the Banshee of the Dalgais. When any distinguished member of the 
Clan was near death, her caoine, or funeral cry, is said to be most distress- 
ing, and full of wild melancholy pathos. She, according to tradition, wrapt 
Dunlaing O'Hartagain in a magical cloud, in order to 'prevent his. joining 
the battle of Clontarf . But the Chief made his way to Morogh, son of 
Brian, who reproached him for [delaying from the conflict. O'Hartagain 
related the circumstance of his interview with Oebhinn, and brought Mor- 
rogh to where she was. In a conversation which ensued, she foretold the 
disasters of the fight, and mentioned the names of all the great Chiefs 
destined to fall on the field that day. Thus ran her prophecy :— 

" Brian shall fall, Morogh shall fall ! &c. &c, 

But woe to the wearers of the shirts of iron ! 

Woe to Brodair of the black shining hair ! 

Woe to Mealmordha, the shedder of blood ! 

The clouds shall be rent with the cries of widows ! 

The hosts of the North shall be covered with death !" &c. Sec. 
4 



42 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

God ! give me patience to bear the affliction I feel! 
But for every hot tear a red blood-drop shall blush on my steel ! 
For every deep pang which my grief -stricken 'spirit has known, 
A thousand death-wounds, in the day of revenge, shall atone ! 



REQUIEM FOR KING MAHON.* 

A BARDIC DIRGE. 

There's gloom in the house of the golden swords ! 

And the sky has a fiery stain ! 
And the sons of the mighty, like maidens weep, 

For the Prince of the people is slain ! 
Cashel ! where is thy bright-hair'd King ? 

The brother of princely Brian ! 
Has the Wolf-Dog of Desmond lapp'd the blood 

Of Kincora's proud war-lion ? 

The white-robed Fairy of the Hill 

Sings her death-wail of despair, 
And the snow-brow'd daughters of princes rend 

Their sun-clouds of beamy hair. 
For the Beautiful of their souls is dark ! 

Their May Flower of Love is chill'd, 
And the golden cup of their wine of joy, 

With burning tears is fill'd. 

Oh ! Brian of the mighty arms ! 

War-eagle of host-ridged fields ! 
Why hangs thy death-sword idle 

In the hall of the silver shields ? 
Thy march to battle is heaven's flash, 

When it burns the mountain-wood ; — 
Does the fiery ear of thy vengeance hear 

The cry of thy brother's blood ? 

And Brian loved the dark-eyed King ! 

As the hawk loves the gold-orb'd sky ! 
Then why should Mahon, unavenged, 

Like the elk of the wild hills, die ? 

• " Mahon, the brother of the illustrious Brian Boroimhe, surnamed Ken- 
nedy, was murdered on the Mushera Mountain, near Macroom. He was 
betrayed by Donovon, son of Cahal, ancestor of the O'Donovans, and de- 
livered into the hands of Molloy, son of Bran, ancestor of the O'Mahonys. 
who basely commissioned his people to put him to death, because he envied 
his greatness and the growing power of the Dalgais. King Mahon deserved 
a better fate ; he was a noble and worthy monarch, a munificent patron of 
learning and piety, and an incessant scourge to the Danish invaders, over 
whom he gained many brilliant victories (in conjunction with his brother 
Brian), especially the celebrated victory of Sulchoid, where five thousand 
of the Northmen, with their bravest commanders, were slain. The remnant 
of the Danish host fled into Limerick, fiercely pursued by the victors, who 
burned the city, and demolished the fortifications, slaying at the same time 
the fugitive Danes in great numbers. The conquerors found in the town 
an immense booty of gold, silver, and jewels, which the generous Mahon 
divided among his soldiery."— Keating. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 43 

God's curse on the hand of the son of Bran ! 

Whose murderous steel cut down 
The topmost bough of our Royal Tree, 

With its glory-blossom'd crown ! 

Clan Tail of the red destroying brands ! 

There's revenge in your orbs of fire ! 
And wrath on your brows, like the dark-lined clouds 

That foster the Wind-God's ire. 
And the flaming points of your cleaving swords 

Shall smoke in the wine-red spring 
Of the venom'd blood of the traitors' hearts, 

That murder'd your noble King ! 

Remember the field of red Sulchoid ! 

And Luimneach's blazing towers, 
Where the hot heart-streams of the Sea-Kings gush'd, 

Like the thunder's burning showers ; 
And Torrell's shield, like an iron moon, 

By the hand of our King was broke ; 
And the enemy flew from his sweeping steel, 

Like grain from the thresher's stroke ! 

In the blood-rain of that stormy field, 

Fought Mahon and Brian, all day ; 
And their lofty plumes, like two wind-rock'd pines, 

Were seen 'mid the steely sea : 
Together they beam'd on the ridge of war, 

Like two suns in one cloudy sphere — 
Two eagles from one mountain nest — 

Two wolves from one forest lair ! 

Open the Sunburst Flag of light ! 

There's a stain on its beamy fold ; 
A fiery stain, like a bleeding star, 

On the sheen of its airy gold ! 
And that stain of shame shall not be cleansed, 

Till 'tis wet with the rain of death ! 
And hung o'er the reeking spears of Cas, 

To dry in the War-Goo?s breath ! 

And no songs shall be sung, nor red wine drank, 

In the Palace of Golden Swords ! * 
Till the grinding steel of our Chiefs shall feast 

In the blood of Desmond's Lords ! 

♦"The gold-hilted swords. The Dalcassians wore gold wire around the 
hilts of their swords, by way of ornament, which often had the effect of in- 
flaming the blood and swelling their hands in the heat of conflict. The 
awful swelling which disabled Morogh's hand and arm, at Clontarf , may be 
traced to the great amount of gold wire on the hilt of his ponderous sword, 
and on the handle of his destructive battle axe. 



44 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Saint Columb's curse on the dark Molloy, 

Is before the Throne divine ; 
And his grave shall be made on the cold hill-side * 

Where the sun shall never shine ! 



THE FLOWER OF LIMERICK. 

Sweet are Glenomera's woods in May, 

When Nature's choir is full in tune ; 
And sweet on Truagh's hills to stray 

Among the crimson bells of June ! 
But sweeter far, when summer's eve 

Wraps earth to sleep in golden shades, 
To meet, by Shannon's moon-lit wave, 

The queenly flower of Limerick maids. 

When first her beauty thrill'd my view, 

My heart I struggled to control ; 
While, like a shower of honey-dew, 

Her smiles fell on my charm'd soul ! 
All in a dreamy trance I lay, 

In Monabraher's flowery shades, 
And thought some fay had cross'd my way, 

From green Killeely's haunted glades ! 

'Tis not her bright face I admire, 

'Tis not her wild, blue wizard eye ; 
But 'tis her mind whose virgin-fire 

Was brought by angels from the sky ! 
Tho' Peggy's smile is sweet to me, 

And Norah's glance my heart invades ; 
I'd give them all to gaze on thee, 

Oh ! radiant queen of Limerick maids ! 

When Nature with delight espy'd 

The maiden's beaming face of love ; 
"This is my masterpiece !" she cried, 

" I can no more my work improve !" 
With joy and admiration wild, 

44 She's my soul's likeness !" Beauty said ; 
" Oh ! yes and she's my bosom's child !" 

Cried Virtue, clinging round the maid ! 

* "And the holy priest predicted that Molloy Mac Bran would come to an 
evil end, and he wept and cursed him bitterly for the murder of Mahon 
Mac Ceineidighe, and he said the grave of Molloy would be on that very hill 
where the bloody deed was committed, and the sun would never shine on it. 
4.nd in some time after, Molloy became blind and was slain, in a wretched 
htU;, and his body was buried on the north side of the mountain where the 
sun never shines on his grave."— Annals of the Four Masters. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 46 

The rich man's daughter proudly goes 

In glittering silk and showy gold ; 
But wealth and art her charms compose 

And all for wealth her heart is sold. 
The haughty lordling, at her feet, 

His love, with cold refinement, pleads. 
While true admirers come to greet 

The graceful Flower of Limerick maids. 

When morning clears her misty brow, 

And gently opes her dreamy eye, 
Night faints before the roseate glow 

Of her bright sunburst in the sky, 
Thus from thine eye's soft silvery dart 

The cold gloom of my bosom fades ; 
And joy and sunshine fill my heart, 

Before the Flower of Limerick maids. 

KING DONALD'S DAUGHTER.* . 

A LEGEND OF THE SHANNON. 

The martial King Donald o'er Luimnoch reign'd, 

And the cause of his country with valour sustain'd ; 

And in many a fierce battle and bloody foray, 

From the grasp of the false Saxon wrested his prey. 

A hundred bright shields in his proud palace-halls — 

The spoils of red battle-fields— flash'd on the walls ! 

A hundred rich golden cups blazed on his board, 

When he call'd to the banquet the Sons of the Sword ; 

And a hundred sweet harps at his revels were strung 

And proud were the war-songs his Irish bards sung. 

Fleet were his war-steeds, as spirits of air, 

When they swept o'er the green plains of Limerick and Clare, 

With their long-bearded riders, and silver-starr'd reins, 

And rich golden housings and wild streaming manes. 

Ah ! woe to the Norman, relentless and stern ! 

Who stood in the path of his strong-handed "kern," 

When, on the grim slaughter-field, charging, amain, 

They swept, like a torrent of fire, o'er the plain. 

But the Star of Green Erinn's high chivalry died ! 

Alas ! for h&r glory — alas ! for her pride ! 

And that dread Chief — the scourge of invaders no more — 

Sleeps sound, in the dust, 'neath Saint Mary's gray tower, t 

King Donald's bright daughter was fair Kathaleen, 
The Swan of the Shannon, and Beauty's young Queen ; 
Light was her form— majestic her step, 
And sweet, as the new rose of summer, her lip : 

* Tradition tells that this beautiful young lady was, during many years. 

a, somnambulist. *>*.*» 

+ Some historians state that King Donald was buried in Holycross Abbey.. 



46 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Dewy her eye of love — sunbeams her hair, — 
Honey- drops were her words — regal her air ! 
Gentleness, tenderness, dignity, grace, 
, Lived in her spirit, and beam'd in her face. 

But why steals she, at night, from her father's dark towers, 
To seek, in her light skiff, yon lone Island-bowers ? 
Tho' the rain may descend, and the winds whistle loud, 
Or red lightnings leap from the skirts of the cloud ; 
Yet she stems the wild flood, where its white eddies boil 
Round the dark, rocky shores of Saint Thomas's Isle. 
'Twas said that the fairies had haunted her bed, 
And fill'd, with their wild spells, her heart and her head ; 
For in all her lone wanderings, at night, on the deep, 
The beautiful Princess, 'twas said, was asleep. 
And night after night, the white lady was seen 
To haunt the wild flood, and the Island so green ; 
And the fisherman shook on the river's dark side, 
When he saw her drift by, like a ghost, on the tide. 

Young Fergus MacMahon woo'd the fair Kathaleen, 
And with smiles she received the proud Chief of Tireen ; 
And the haughty King Donald, complacently smiled, 
Well-pleased, at the choice of his beautiful child. 
The bridal day dawned, and the wedding guests met, 
And the grand, nuptial feast, in the palace, was set ; 
At Saint Mary's high altar, the bridegroom and bride, 
In regal magnificence, kneel side by side. 
The Ladies admire the young Chief of Tireen, 
And the Lords pour encomiums on fair Kathaleen. 
As the stately arbutus, with blossoms all white, 
Appears in the gold of the rich summer light ; 
Thus, before the grand altar, so graceful was she, 
As fair as the blossoms — as straight as the tree. 
O'er her proud, queenly shoulders a soft falluinn* flow^, 
That richly, with damask'd embroidery, glow'd ; 
And its long, golden fringe shed a twilight around 
Her white, fairy feet, like twin pearls on the ground. 
On her bosom a bright, star-like jewel she wore, 
That once graced the nuptials of happy Queen More : t 
And a crownlet of gems o'er her sunny hair shone, 
Like the rainbow of noon o'er the dreamy clouds thrown. 
Behold the proud bridegroom, — how lordly his glance — 
As fix'd as a tower, and as tall as a lance ; 
His spirit's nobility bursts, with a glow, 
On the rose of his cheek, and the snow of his brow. 

* A mantle worn by the women of ancient Erin. 

t More, the daughter of O'Hine, King of West Connaught, was Brian 
Boroimhe's first wife, and the'mother of his invincible son, Morogh. Thia lady- 
was eminently distinguished for her beauty, her charity, and her humility ; 
not so his second wife, Gormley, sister to the King of Leinster. She was 
rain, vindictive, and intriguing, and was the main cause of fomenting the 
Battle of Clontarf, on account of the loss of a silver button. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 47 

His eye, which now sparkles with tender desire, 
But reveals half the blaze of its summer-noon-fire; 
And his hand, gently pressing fair Kathaleen's hand, 
Would shiver the best Norman mail in the land. 

The ceremony's ended — they're one evermore, — 
And the pageantry, splendid, proceeds from the door ; 
The sweet bridal anthem the silver bells rung, 
And the harps, in the palace, responsively sung ; 
Gay flowers shed their odours, and banners wave bright, 
And the city resounds with one song of delight ; 
The wedding boards bend with the luxurious fare, 
Rich sirloins of beef, from the pastures of Clare ; 
Golden bowls sparkled high, with the grapes' blushing rain 
From France, and the bright, sunny vineyards of Spain. 
All night the gay palace resounded, and rung 
With the toast, and the laugh, and the dance, and the song; 
But when the great bell of the Abbey * toll'd one, 
The bridesmaidens whisper'd, "The Princess is gone I" 
And they look'd on each other, in silence, and sigh'd, 
When they heard the proud Fergus inquire for his bride. 
But the chief turn'd pale when her old nurse drew near 
And related some mysterious tale, in his ear ; 
Without cochal f t or barrad, he sprung from the door, 
And rush'd, in his grief, to the dark river shore. 
Wild was the night, and the wind whistled shrill, 
And the rain-torrent leaped, with a dash, from the hill; 
And the wide-spreading Shannon, deep, swoll'n and strong, 
In a mantle of darkness, rush'd roaring along. 
Thro' the dense pitchy gloom, green and red meteors glanced, 
The fitful blast piped and the dark forest danced ; 
And the wild, leaping river show'd many a white ridge, 
Where its swift flood was broken, at Thomond's old bridge. 
'Mid the howl of the storm, the fair Kathaleen, 
All alone on the bank of the Shannon is seen ; 
She unmoors her frail boat from the shore's slanting side, 
And drives off 'mid the rage of the wave-crested tide. 
Like the bright river Genius, with proud unconcern, 
She plies her light paddle, and sits in the stem ; 
And the waves — as if glad of the burden they bore — 
Kiss'd her hand, and then leap'd, with a song, to the shore. 
To the channel's dark centre she fearlessly drove, 
As if wildly, with darkness and danger, in love ; 
Good heavens ! what nuptials ! the storm and tide 
All fiercely contending to dance with the bride. 

* The ancient Abbey of St. Francis, which stood in the locality that still 
bears its name. The old County Courthouse, now a deserted ruin, was built 
on the site of this celebrated Abbey. It was ornamented with a beautiful 
steeple, which contained a core of fine bells. 

t Cochal was the mantle of the ancient Irish ; the barrad was their headr 
dress or cap. 

A part of the walls of King Donald's Palace is still standing in the 
Vicinity of the old town, near St. Mary's Cathedral. 



48 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

On the brown shore the bridegroom, mute, motionless, stood, 

With his flashing eye piercing the gloom of the flood ; 

Has his dreaming soul roam'd thro' the shadows of night, 

Presenting this dark scene of awe $o his sight ? 

Has some phantom allured him ? Oh ! no, 'tis his bride, 

He sees, all alone, on that dread midnight tide : 

While, breathlessly gazing, he thought the rough blast, 

That brush'd the dark waters, would sink her at last. 

On she drives, and young Fergus, upon the dark shore, 

In silence, keeps pace with the dip of her oar ; 

While her skiff' o'er the billows danced gracefully on, 

With the light, careless ease of the silvery swan. 

Oft he thought she was lost, as the sable-veil'd night, 

'Mid the valley of waves, hid her form from his sight ; 

'Till, tossed on the crest of the black surge, on high, 

The flash of her jewels blazed full on his eye. 

Now the wind-beaten Isle of Saint Thomas, * she near d, ? 

Thro' the rock-lashing current, with judgment, she steer 'd ; 

When an angry squall rush'd, with a howl, thro' the wood, 

And tost her frail bark on a rock 'mid the flood. 

One bound, and the Chieftain is into the tide, 

Ploughing on, thro' the foam, towards the skiff of his bride ; 

He furrows the flood, like a wave-cleaving ship, 

And spurns the spray of the surge from his lip ; 

With proud head erect, 'gainst the torrent he toils, 

Which, around him, on either side, furiously boils ; 

But, in spite of the river's wild swiftness and strength, 

He gaind the light skiff of the lady, at length. 

He gazed in her face, but she heeded him not, 

As if all that was dear to her heart was forgot ; 

The white-rolling waterfalls tumbled around, 

Yet heedless she seem'd, as if born of their sound. 

The cold night- wind sung in the cloud of her hair, 

And she look'd, like a ghost, on the dark billows there. 

He grasp'd her white garment, and call'd out her name, 

And she started, and scream'd, and sprang into the stream. 

But he holds her afloat with his powerful hand, 

And buffets the current, and wades to the strand ; 

Yet the wild flood, as loath to relinquish its prey, 

Towards the Fall's boiling whirlpool bears him away. 

Assist- him, Heaven !— The merciless surge 

Drives him on, like a reed, to the torrent's deep verge ; 

Still he holds the droop'd head of the lady away 

From the lash of the wave and the chafe of the spray. 



• This beautifully secluded little Island was once the retreat of religion. 
In its interior stood a small Abbey, surrounded by a churchyard, but its 
venerable ruins were razed to the ground, its graves desecrated, and the 
bones of the dead thrown into the river, by one of its Anglo Saxon proprietors, 
after the Siege of Limerick. The sacrilegious act brought a curse on the 
deseerator— not one of his progeny ever inherited the l3land. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 49 

One plunge — the Fall's clear'd — and one bold effort more — 

The danger is past, and he stands on the shore. 

He clasps her drench'd form, with accents of joy, 

Life's warm in her heart, and her pulses reply ; 

She trembles, and turns her eyes from the stream, 

And her spirit has broken the yoke of its dream. 

Never more, at dark midnight, the lady was seen 

To haunt that wild flood, and the Island so green ; 

But oft, in nights, after, when winds whistled drear, 

And the roar of the Shannon 'rose wild on her ear ; 

As she sat by her lord, in the grand palace-room, 

And laid on his bosom her bright cheek of bloom ; 

She'd whisper him gently, and laugh, with delight, 

1 ' Say, Love ! would you swim the wild Shannon to-night ?" 



THE DEATH OF DONOVAN,* SON OF CAHAL, 

Slain in Single Combat by Morogh, Son of Brian. 

A BARDIC DIRGE. 

On the winds of Ui Fidhgeinte f the death-cry is swelling, 
To the harp's weeping music, in Donovan's dwelling ; 
Where his clans, in wild rout, from the battle-field driven, 
Bear the corpse of their King, with his proud bosom riven. 

The Prince of Mononia stands near, in the glade, 
With a frown on his brow, and a stain on his blade ; 
While his fiery Dalcassians, all stalwart and stern, 
Like blood-sated mountain-wolves, rest in the fern. 

Towards the Palace of Helmets % his dark face he turns, 
And his eye, with the flash of his proud spirit, burns ; 
But his heart feels a pang, and his soul yields a tear, 
As the words of the death-song float wild on his ear. 

"Like the oak of the desert thy glory was growing ! 
And the sunlight of fame on thy valour was glowing ! 
Thy sword, like a sunstroke, swept squadrons before it ! 
Now a grass-blade may fetter the strong hand that bore it ! 

No more shalt thou chase the brown deer on the highland — 

Loud voice in the war-field, why art thou so silent ? 

No more shall the Bara Bod's thunderlike rattle, 

In the flames of thy steel, rouse thee up to the battle ! 

* Brian led a great army into the territories of Donovan and Molloy, and 
gave them, and their Danish allies, a terrible chastisement for the murder of 
his brother Mahon . Morogh, his eldest son, then only 18 years old, engaged 
Donovan hand to hand, and slew him. 

fTJi Fidhsreinfe, now Kenry, was the principality of Donovan. 

X Donovan's Palace. 



50 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TfiOMOND. 

Oh ! fierce was the splendour that blazed from thy spear ! 
When Kinkora's young war-hawk, to combat, drew near ! 
When breastplate and shield, by the mighty blows rent, 
Like fragments of light, on the reeling plain went. v 

But, who could encounter Boroimhe's furious son ? 
How grimly he laugh 'd when the battle was won ! 
When the tide of thy breast dyed the steel of his ire, 
And thy locks strew'd the dust, like a shower of gold wire ! 

Give his dirge to the blast, 'mid his people's tears burning, 
Let his spirit ascend on the sound of our mourning ; 
He may pause, in his flight, o'er the mountain-top, hoary, 
To take a last look at the field of his glory ! 

O'er the tomb of the warrior the eagles shall hover, 
Lamenting his blood-wasting battles are over ; 
. For, where'er his red war axe was lifted in anger, 
He largely supplied the wild rage of th?ir hunger ! 

Dread ghost of our Chieftain ! where'er thou dost wander 
'Mid the winds of the hill, or the Clouds of the thunder ! 
Fierce spirits of valour shall throng round thee, brightening 
With joy, stretching out their blue arms of lightning ! 



MARY OF LOCH REA. 

Air — " The Banks of sweet Loch i?ea." 

'Twas in the golden harvest-time when summer's roses fade, 
And Nature mourns her dying bloom in every rural shade, 
I wander'd o'er the yellow fields, as evening died away, 
To see the angel of my heart, sweet Mary of Loch Rea ! 

And Mary was a gentle maid, bright, beautiful and proud ; 
Her hair was like the sunny fringe of summer's show'ry cloud ; 
Her mouth, a honey-cell of smiles — her face like flowery May, 
And her neck like winter's freezing moon oh the blue waves 
of Loch Rea ! 

I woo'd her long, and loved her well — she loved me in return, 
She was my bosom's summer rose, of love, without a thorn ; 
But, oh ! she was too good to live ! too bright on earth to 

stay! 
And, like the lovely star of dawn, she smiled, and pass'd away! 

I came to the appointed place, but Mary was not there ; 
Tne. evening dew lay undisturb'd on blade and floweret fair ; 
3Dhe shadow of some sad event seem'd dark'ning o'er my 

But yet I hoped I soon would see my Mary of Loch Rea. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 51 

The twilight star look'd from the West's soft shades of gold 

and green, 
And whitely lay the silent mist upon the sleeping plain; 
When from her lowly cottage 'rose a shriek of wild dismay, 
I rush'd within, and cold in death was Mary of Loch Rea. 

The heart swell'd in my bosom, and the tear burst from my eye, 
My manhood's spirit melted, and I join'd the wailers' cry ; 
I felt the cold, white shoud that o'er her breast of lilies lay, 
But colder, in death's frozen sleep, was Mary of Loch Rea. 

Oh, Mary ! why did nature make you beautiful and bright ? 
Or why did beauty clothe you with her richest robe of light ? 
Heaven grew jealous with the earth, and hurried you away — 
The angels fell in love with you, sweet Mary of Loch Rea I 

Oh ! heart of kindness, mouth of smiles, and eyes of sunny 

light ! 
Alas ! have thy sweet lips no word of love for me, to-night ? 
You'd always some good news to tell, or some kind word to say ! 
Always, till now — my darling one — my wild rose of Loch Rea! 

And shall we never meet again ? Oh, love ! why don't you 

speak ? 
You do not hear me, Mary ! Oh ! I wish my heart would break ! 
Ah ! love ! as you have gone from me, I w r ould not go from you, 
Without, at least, one dear and fond, affectionate adieu ! 

You loved the Blessed Virgin, with a true, and holy love, 
And she took you to her palace, in the crystal fields, above ; 
You were so lovely, like herself, she long'd to have you there, 
Lest, any breath of earth would stain a flower so bright and 
fair ! 

No more I'll hear your sweet song, in the dewy milking bawn, 
With the kine all lowing round you, in the pale, red light of 

dawn ; 
Some other maid will sing those songs, while you are in the 

clay — 
Oh ! Blessed God ! my heart will break for Mary of Loch Rea ! 

As, in an ivory temple, chimes a sweet-toned silver bell, 
The music of your modest voice into my heart's core fell ! 
The admiring angels heard its tones, jfKd.they laid their sweet 

harps by, 
And they stole you off to join them in t^e^r heavenly songs 

of joy ! M 

The sun will miss the glory of your glossy; shining hair ! 
The youths will miss you from tne dance, on summer's evenings 

fair! " 
The flowers will want your faii*y step to shake their drops away ! 
And I will miss your smile of love, sweet Mary of Loch Re*&t, 



52 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE BATTLE OF LIMERICK. 

ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE WOMEN. 
A. D. 1691. 

Let Grecian Poets sing, with martial joy, 

The fabled glory of immortal Troy, 

Where mighty nations, for a woman, vain, 

Bled, in fierce battle, on the wasted plain ! 

I'll sing a theme, where Irish arms appear — 

A theme to glory, and to Ireland dear ! 

Proud Limerick's breach, where woman's hostile hand 

Smote the Invaders of her native land. 

Inflame my soul, Muse ! with fierce desire 

To draw the picture, with a touch of fire ! 

Unlock the past, and summon back to life 

The acts and actors of that noble strife ! 

On tower and wall the stern defenders throng, 
Tho' weak in number, yet in spirit strong ; 
With sullen faces and suspended breath, 
They look the heralds of approaching Death. 
Like iron statues, on the ramparts placed, 
Their reckless hearts with brazen valour braced ; 
Grim, fierce, determined, daringly they stood, 
Waiting the signal for the work of blood. 

On Singail's plain the bold besiegers stand, 
Ready to charge — impatient for command ; 
Ten thousand eyes upon the breach are turn'd, 
Ten thousand hearts to leap within it burn'd. 
Swords rattle, helmets flash, and cannon frown, 
And threaten vengeance on the stubborn town. 
All the dread engines of destroying war, 
All that a treacherous foe can plan, or dare ; 
All, all that might, and ruin, can essay, 
Are to be pour'd on Limerick town, to-day. 

The signal guns the dreadful silence break — 

The armies charge — the tottering bulwarks shake — 

Full on the breach a surge of fire and steel 

Drives, with a crash that makes the city reel. 

Up the defenders, like crouch'd bloodhounds, sprung, 

And swords and guns, in mingled lightning, rung; 

Fierce, in the breach, before the foes, they stand, 

Antf. smash their ranks, and slay them hand to hand. 

On came Dane, Saxon, Dutch, in banded swarms, 

Loud rung the steely thunder of their arms; 

A bloody whirlpool of destruction howls 

Round the red fosse, and in the chasm rolls. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 53 

Above the clang which seem'd the world to rend, 

The Irish shouts, in sounding peals, ascend ; 

As, dashing on the columns of their foes, 

They fell, outnumber'd, and o'erpowered with blows. 

The sea of combat heaves, and sinks, and swells — 

Like fiery demons, leap'd the bursting shells ; 

Grape shot and flaming balls, in blasting sway, 

Mingled their fires, and swept whole ranks away ; 

Cannon and howitzer belch'd red ruin 'round, 

Gunners and guns lay shatter'd on the ground. 

Horses and riders backward reel'd and fell, 

The ramparts rock'd, and blazed with fire and steel 

As from a hundred mad volcanoes driven, 

Thick clouds of smoke o'ercast the echoing heaven. 

From place to place, the daring Sarsfield speeds, 

Firing his troops, and kindling mighty deeds. 

"Oh ! Men of Limerick !" he loudly calls, 

" Stand to your posts, be firm, and keep your walls! 

Now is the time to your old land to prove 

Your manly valour, and devoted love ! 

Hear her, thro' me, to your brave souls appeal, 

In this brave contest, for her future weal ; 

Lo ! at your doors the fierce invader stands ! 

Give him a bloody welcome, at your hands ! 

He comes to trample, in his fraud and might, 

Your ancient country, and her sacred right ! 

Now, all your arms in valiant action join ! 

Remember Aughrim and the bloody Boyne ! 

Think of your butcher' d comrades' reeking tombs ! 

Think of your blazing fanes and plunder'd homes ! 

Think of your mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, 

To you they trust their honour and their lives ! 

This day your country, in her gory shroud, 

Cries for the vengeance of your arms aloud ! 

Her life, her faith and hope are in your trust ! 

This day she dies, or rises from the dust ! 

All, all depend upon your manly deeds ! 

And all are ruin'd if the foe succeeds !" 

Thus, breathing his brave soul into their souls — 
Fierce, on the foe, a double deluge rolls ; 
Red floods of ruin flame along the ground ; 
Trembled the towers, and roar'd the hills around. 
Upon the walls an iron whirlwind sweeps ; 
Glares the grim breach with dead, in gory heaps ! 
Broad sheets of flame, like winged hells, arise, 
Blaze o'er the fight, and vanish in the skies ! 
On surged the mighty foreign host, amain, 
And inch by inch the reeking ground they gain : 



54 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

O'er the plough'd mounds the driving columns pour ; — 

The brave defenders are press'd back before 

The overpowering number of their foes ; 

But every inch is bought with blood and blows. 

Round, on the walls, the scaling ladders rise 

Forests of steel shoot upwards to the skies, 

And bristling o'er the battery's iron crest, 

In whelming force, the Brandenburghers press d ; 

While, thro' the deep street-passage of Saint John, 

In one wild river, rolls the battle on ; 

One thick, tremendous shower of burning rain 

Sweeps the scour'd street, and whirls thro' every lane : 

Earth rocks beneath the combat's mighty wheel ; 

The turrets quiver and the houses reel ! 

But hark ! what deafening cheer — what new war-cry 

Peals thro' the town, and sounds along the sky ? 

What fresh reinforcement swells the deadly tide ? 

Springs on the foe, and bursts from every side ? 

Limerick ! behold thy daughters ! proud and fair ! 

Like arm'd angels, flying to the war ! 

They saw their husbands, brothers, sweethearts, all 

Fly from the ramparts, and desert the wall ; 

And dashing forth, 'mid streams of fire and blood, 

Attack'd the foe, and check'd the martial flood. 

A moment's silence still'd the awful scene, 

New fire — new vigour fill'd the men again ! 

A double soul in every man revives, 

And on the foe, with double might, he drives ! 

Foremost the women press'd, with bosoms bare ! 

Round their white shoulders stream'd their floating hair ; 

With heavy stones the cuirassiers they wound ! 

And rattling plate, and crashing helms resound. 

Matrons and maids, wives, widows, young and old, 

In virtue peerless, and in danger bold ; 

On the astounded ranks, from every side, 

Dash'd, with wild cheers, and turn'd the furious tide. 

The mother from her arms tost her child, 

And grasp'd a stone, and joined the conflict wild ; 

The maids threw by their mantles, with a shout, 

And arm'd with missiles, on the host, sprung out. 

Now, with new fire, the contest burns and roars ; 

And stones, and crags descend, in whistling showers ; 

The helmets burst, the horsemen fall around, 

And swords, and muskets clang upon the ground ; 

The plunging horses, gored and terrified, 

Foam thro' the war, without a hand to guide. 

O'er the red street a crimson deluge falls, 

Warms the cold stones and smokes upon the walls ! 

O'er the thick dead the valiant women strode, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 55 

Their hands, and hair, and garments drench'd with blood ; 

Some, from the saddles hurl the cuirassiers, 

Some, hand to hand o'erthrow the musketeers ! 

The staggering ranks confess'd the missile hail, 

Like sounding anvils, clang'd the shatter'd mail. 

From end to end, along the naming street, 

Crash'd the stone-showers, and hiss'd the iron sleet. 

Thro' the mad chaos of contending men, 

Loose, waving gowns and flying scarfs are seen ! 

Dane, Saxon, Dutch, in fierce confusion bled — 

The Shannon reddened in his silver bed. 

O'er the war's din great Sarsfield's voice was heard, 

As in the van the dreadful chief appear'd. 

From Shannon's passes, o'er the Bridge of Baal, 

Rush'd many a knight, and many a trooper tall ; 

And springing from their war-steeds, sword in hand, 

Fell, with a vengeance, on the foreign band. 

Now came the conflict's mighty tug and strain, 

And William's army bled at every vein ! 

Back to the breach the bloody war- wave turn'd, 

And town and sky with flame and battle burn'd. 

As o'er some mountain river's rocky bar 

A wintry torrent leaps, in foaming war ; 

In one stupendous mass the mad flood toils, 

And bounding onward, headlong whirls and boils ; 

Thus, thro' the breach, in furious disarray, 

Leapt the wild combat, like a broken sea. 

The match great Sarsfield to the mine applies, 

And high thro' heaven the roaring battery flies ; 

Stones, steel and Brandenburghers, upward whirl'd, 

In flaming atoms, thro' the skies are hurl'd ! 

On town and plain return'd the crashing showers ; 

Like dancing giants, sway'd the groaning towers ; 

The reeling houses shake their heads around, 

And stoop, like drunkards, towards the quivering ground ! 

Limerick is free — peal out St. Mary's bells — 
O'er plain and hill the joyful anthem swells ! 
Immortal honour to her daughters bright 
That smash'd the foe, and turn'd the scale of fight ! 



THE SARSFIELD TESTIMONIAL.* 

Oh ! yes, 'tis true, the debt is due, by Erin's children all, 
Brave Chief to you, who never flew from battle fire, or ball ! 
Alas ! too long, the brave and strong in stern oblivion lies, 
The glory of our ancient town — the Idol of her eyes ! 

* This long-projected Testimonial ought to be as large as a pyramid when 
completed, for the largest of Egypt's pyramids was begun and finished 
during the same apace of time the patrons of the Testimonial are only 
talking. 



56 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Oh ! 'twere a shame to let his name, like other names decay, 
Or let the Earth forget his worth, like other things of clay ; 
But we must see the brave and free defender of our walls, 
High in the light of sculptured might, among our homes and 

halls. 
There let him stand, with sword in hand, and flashing arms 

of steel, 
In bright array, as on the day he made the foemen reel ; 
And let our eyes, with glad surprise, the warlike sight enjoy 
Of him who stood, 'mid fire and blood, our tyrants to destroy. 
Oh ! Sculptor ! trace on his bold face the spirit-blaze which 

shone, 
The day he roll'd the flood of war to Limerick from Athlone ; 
As if, with word and waving sword, he call'd on Limerick's 

men, 
" My freeborn sons ! with hearts and guns, go man yon breach 

again ! 
Oh ! Sculptor ! show, on "his high brow, his freedom-grasping 

zeal, 
When Limerick's streets, and brave old walls, blazed red with 

fire and steel : 
When, undismay'd, with sweeping blade he clear d the 

flaming town, 
Oh ! show us how his stalwarth arm had cut the foemen down ! 
Show us his godlike bearing, 'mid the burning wreck of fight ! 
His loud command, and lifted hand, and blazing eye of light ! 
His eagle-glance that, like a lance, pierced centre, rear and van ! 
His form tall, revealing all the majesty of man ! 

Let daring thought be sternly wrought in his high, dauntless 

air, 
As if the seed of some great deed had grown to action there ; 
Like, on the night, when his fierce might from Limerick 

sallied forth, 
And swept'the foe, at one dread blow, for ever from the earth ! 
Show us the grief that fill'd the chief, when with his hopes 

betray'd, 
Far, far away, across the sea he led the brave Brigade ; 
Show us the blood-gout, from his side, red-welling on his hand, 
With his last words — " I wish 'twere shed for thee, my Native 
. Land !" 

,r* 

O'NEILL'S WAR-SONG. 
Air.— " O'Donnell Aboo," 

Fierce is the flame of the vengeance of Erin, 
When roused by the blast of the battle to shine ; 

Fierce is the flash of her broadsword uprearing 
To strike for her rights and her altars divine. 



LAYS AND LEGHNDS OP THOMOND. 57 

Haste — snatch the spear and shield I 

Rush to the battle-field ! 
The Saxon is come from the towers of the Pale ! 

Sons of the vale and glen ! 

Children of mighty men ! 
Swell the dread war-note of conquering O'Neill ! 

Lightly the Red Hand of terror is streaming, 

Like a fire-cloud of death on the hills of Tyrone ; 
Brightly the spears of Clan Connaill are gleaming, 
Like Swilly's blue waves in the beams of the sun : 

Hark ! the wild battle-cry 

Rings thro' the sounding sky ! 
Valley and mountain are blazing with steel ! 

Eagles and forest deer 

Rush from the heights, with fear, 
Scared at the war-shout of conquering O'Neill ! 

O'Donnell descends from his father's dark mountains, 
He comes, glorious prince ! to the strife of the Gael ; 
He comes, like the rush of his own stormy fountains, 
Sweeping, impetuous, o'er moorland and vale. 

On to the Yellow Ford, 

Chiefs of the flashing sword ! 
Charge the proud Sassenach back to the Pale ! 

Fierce to the scene of blood — 

Wild as a mountain flood, 
Rush the strong warriors of conquering O'Neill. 

Our war-shouts shall ring and our musket peals rattle, 

Our swords shall not rest from their hot, bloody toil ; 
Our plains shall be drench'd with the red showers of battle, 
Till the godless invaders are swept from our soil! 

Pikeman and Musketeer! 

Kern and Cavalier — 
The wolves and the ravens are scenting their meal ! 

Carve to them, red and fresh, 

Plenty of Saxon flesh ! 
Follow your princely chief — conquering O'Neill. 

Onward, O'Neill! with thy Red Hand of glory ! |^ 

Thy sword lighteth thousands to conquest and fame 7^ 
The annals of Eire are emblazed with thy story, 
Her valleys are fill'd with the praise of thy name ! 
On with the Bloody Hand ! 
Shake the dread battle brand — 
Woe to the spoilers of Green Inisfail ! 
Lo ! theiiSred ranks appear — 
Up, every gun and spear — 
Charge — charge — O'Donnell! and conquering O'Neill! 
5 



58 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE BATTLE OF THE YELLOW FORD, a.d. 1598.* 

The morn, on silver Avonmore, thro' cloudless skies shone 

down, 
When Bagnall led his Saxon powers from Armagh's lofty town ; 
And polish'd helm and fiery lance, and glittering corslet 

flash'd, 
As forward, o'er the shining plain, the splendid squadrons 

dash'd. 

With bugle-note and trumpet- clang, and loud resounding drum, 
And red flags dancing in the air, o'er many a gaudy plume ; 
In awful pomp of martial power rolls on the hostile tide 
To grapple with the fierce O'Neill, that scourge of England's 
pride. 

As pamper' d, rampant lions from their iron cages freed, 
With bristling mane and fiery eye, pranced many a knightly 

steed ; 
And many a lord and veteran chief in golden harness ride, 
And cuirassier, and musketeer, at siege and foray tried. 

Now, towards the wild wood's branchy skirt the serried legions 

drew, 
And in, to scour its leafy shades, the lighter horsemen flew ; 
All there is silent as the night — no ambuscade they find — 
And onward, in their sounding march, the shining columns 

wind. 

The passage's clear 'd — the border's pass'd — the wood's green 

heart is gain'd, 
When sudden on the startled van a crushing volley's rain'd ; 
And fiery death, on leaden wings, leaps out from every shade, 
And quickly in the reeling front a bloody gap is made. 

Proud Bagnall sees the vanguard fall, and, spurring past the 

flanks, 
Urged his black war-horse, at a bound, before the swaying 

ranks ; 
The rallied troops press'd on against the storm of deadly hail, 
And from the gloomy wood dislodged the ambush of the Gael. 

Now backward to the open plain the skirmishers retired, 
The Saxons, at their new success, with sterner hopes are fired ; 
And pouring from the forest's shades their firm and fierce array, 
See Erin's ranks, full in the front, extended for the fray. 

* Btarl-an-atha Buidh. The mouth of the Yellow Ford, near Armagh 
In this great battle over five thousand of the English army was put hors 
de combat. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 59 

High glitter'd in the flashing air their steady ridge of steel. 
And, o'er their lines, majestic stream'd the banner of O'Neill ; 
And burnish'd skein, and well primed gun, and gleaming axe 

and lance, 
Present their bristling surge before the Saxon's stern advance. 

In front of that fierce Irish host, all in the level pass, 

Deep pits were sunk and cover'd o'er with fragile boughs and 

grass ; ' 

Irish traps for Saxon foxes — by foe bold O'Neill design'd — 
And their deep bottoms, thickly s#t, with pointed stakes were 

lined. 

As taken by surprise, awhile, the scarlet ranks stood still, 
And on their General fix'd their eyes, as if to read his will ; 
He scann'd the order of his foes, and cried, " My gallant men ! 
Advance ! and strike for good Saint George and England's 
Virgin Queen /" 

As shoots the booming thunder on the mountain's splinter'd 

rock, 
As bends the nodding city with an earthquake's sudden shotfk, 
Thus o'er the hollow sounding plain the charging host drives on, 
And in the pits the formost ranks roll headlong, horse and'man. 

A shout of jeering laughter thro' the Irish legion runs, 
And on the baffled foe they hurl'd the thunder of their guns ; 
Then, feigning well a quick retreat, drew backward on the plain, 
To give the raging Saxons space to make the charge agam. 

All wild with wrath, the horsemen o'er their prostrate com- 
rades spurr'd, 

And dying groans, and savage yells, and frantic oaths are 
heard ; 

Full on the second hidden range of deadly pits they sweep, 

And down again roll steeds and men, crushed, bruised and 
buried deep. 

Now brave O'Neill ! let loose thy clans ! their spears are 

bloodless yet ! 
Those spears that thirst in f oemen's hearts their burning points 

to wet ! 
And down upon their squadrons sweeps that stern and 

stalwart band, 
As leaps a mighty sea-wave, in its madness, on the strand. 

As tigers, in their flaming thirst, surround a desert well, 

So on the reeling Saxon host the furious herns fell ; 

And spear, and sparth, and skein, and sword their reeking 

work begin ; 
And soon the English phalanx, and its iron wings grew thin. 



60 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The tall and vigorous Gallowglasses, with war-axe broad and 

keen, 
Like hewers in the swinging groves, among the ranks are seen; 
With flashing eyes, and wrathful shout, and fierce destructive 

blow, 
Right onward thro' the opening host their deadly path they 

mow. 

As groans the crackling forest by the polar tempests tost, 
The tangled combat sway'd and rock'd, in stormy chaos lost ; 
The muskets boom'd, and breastplates clash'd, and sounding 

axes gleam'd 
And rattling spears, and whistling shot in deadly whirlwinds 

stream'd. 

Earth's bosom seem'd to sink beneath the deluge of the fight, 

And heaven in darkness hid its face, and closed its eye of 
light ; 

While roar'd the battle's thunder-blast, 'mid burning showers 
of blood, 

The echoes shriek'd, like tortured fiends, o'er hill and sound- 
ing wood. 

Amid that surging sea of death what mighty bosoms bleed, 
And daring hearts that lately swell'd with many a fearless 

deed ? 
Rank after rank is hurl'd to earth, as wither'd trees expire 
Before the fierce, devouring rage of mingled wind and fire. 

The Milan armour flies, like glass, at every crashing blow, 
And horse and foot commingled, in one frantic ruin, grow ; 
Man'gasps on man, wounds gush on wounds, and spears are 

smashed, like reeds, 
And dying Knights lie gash'd and crush'd beneath ^their 

plunging steeds. 

But, hark ! what world-rending crash — with more than 

thunder's knell — 
Has shook the shivering hills around, as if a mountain fell ? 
The Saxon's powder waggon has exploded 'mid the rout, 
And, thick as autumn's blasted leaves, their ranks lie blown 

about. 

Down swept the fierce O'Donnell on the remnant of their line, 
As springs the scorching lightning on a grove of wither'd 

pine ; 
The furious wave of ruin on the riven columns burst, 
And fresh, hot streams of parting life cement the reeking dust. 

As thro' a raging mountain storm the eagle cleaves his way, 
Or as the hungry panther thro' the desert seeks his prey ; ' 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 61 

The fierce O'Neill sought Bagnall, 'mid the battle's rolling 

throng, 
But Bagnall lay, a gory corpse, the scatter'd dead among. 

The bravest of that host have fallen — that host so lately seen, 
In glittering splendour, winding thro' the forest's leafy screen ; 
Thro' brake and dell, for Armagh's walls, the horrid route rolls 

on 
Before the sweeping vengeance of Tyrone's pursuing clan. 

All sense of shame and order, in their fearful flight, is lost, — 
Are those the troops which form'd, so late, a stern and power- 
ful host? 
Are those the bands proud Bagnall led to crush a noble race, 
Now in mad panic, smash'd and gored, all flying in disgrace ? 

As when a gather'd tempest cloud impends and swells on high, 

And spreads its giant shadow o'er the bosom of the sky, 

Till it bursts and flies in fragments from the storm's angry 

might, 
So fled the scatter'd Saxons from that stern and bloody fight. 



GENTLE NANNIE. 

Now sunny April's vernal showers 
Besilver Cuil's bright lawn of flowers, 
While love and beauty fill the bowers 

Around my gentle Nannie ; 
Fair thou art as spring's young moon, 

Gentle Nannie ! lovely Nannie ! 
Sweet to me as flowery June, 

My gentle, dark-hair'd Nannie ! 

Hark ! in the golden ear of day, 
The blackbird pours his silvery lay, 
While streams in sunny splendour play 

Around my gentle Nannie. 
I wander'd o'er the fresh green lea, 

Gentle Nannie ! lovely Nannie ! 
But saw no flower as sweet as thee, 

My gentle, dark-hair'd Nannie ! 

Let us seek some grassy shade 

In yon daisy-sheeted mead 

Where the bright, wild bees shall breathe 

Flower-songs round my Nannie ! 
And I'll sing a sweet one, too, 

Gentle Nannie ! lovely Nannie ! 
All of beauty, love and you, 

My gentle, dark-hair'd Nannie ! 



62 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The primrose opens, in the vale, 
Its golden mouth to kiss the gale 
That wafts the sweets of dell and dale 

To yon, my gentle Nannie ! 
But sweeter far art thou to me, 

Gentle Nannie ! lovely Nannie ! 
Than the fragrant gale to thee, 

My gentle, dark-hair'd Nannie ! 

The yellow-flaming sunlight gilds 
The cloudy helmets of the hills ; 
Young mist wreaths curl o'er the fields, 

Soft as thy radiant hair, Nannie ! 
Blight's the morning's scarlet-fringe — 

Gentle Nannie — lovely Nannie! 
But brighter is thy mouth's red tinge, 

My gentle, dark-hair'd Nannie ! 

Rich-scented hangs the meadow-sweet, 
Like snow-plumes o'er an emerald sheet ; 
Or like thine own white-glancing feet 

Upon the sun-bright lawn, Nannie ! 
I think the fragrant, pale flower tells, 

Gentle Nannie ! lovely Nannie ! 
That sweetness in thy bosom dwells, 

My gentle, dark-hair'd Nannie ! 



THE FAIRY MAID OF GARNA.* 

A LEGEND OF SIX-MILE-BRIDGE. 

By Garna's fairy river, 

Where the bright green birch -boughs quiver, 

Dwelt a maid as fair as ever 

Nature shaped or beauty blest ; 
Her voice was sweet and airy, 
And her form was like the fairy 
That treads the woodland dreary, 

When the day is hush'd to rest. 

Fell her brown locks' floating splendour 
O'er her milk-white arms tender ; 
And her queenly port was slender 

As the ash-tree on the lawn ; 
Than the summer dew-fall lighter 
Was her waxen foot, but whiter, 
• And her soulful eyes were brighter 

Than the star-beams ere the dawn. 

* The ancient name of Six-mile-Bridge, in the county of Clare. It derived 
this name from the river O'Cearneigh, which flows through it. It was'formerly 
a famous place for trade, commerce, and faction fighting. The scenery 
around it, especially that of Mount levers and Castle Cren, is very rich and 
romantic. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 63 

Round her simple robe of neatness, 
Play'd a wild harmonious sweetness, 
As, with a sun-ray's fleetness, 

Down the valley's slope she hied ; 
And the young flowers look'd up blushing, 
All with liquid honey gushing, 
As her wind-like feet went rushing 

O'er their heads of modest pride. 

One golden July morn, 

When the meads' green wealth was shorn, 

And the new-hay's sweetness borne 

On the honey -winged gale ; 
O'er the dew's resplendent whiteness, 
With her step of aerial lightness, 
Like a thing of angel brightness, 

Went she wandering thro' the vale. 

Beside a brier-bush tangled, 

All with snowy blossoms spangled, 

Whose flowery incense mingled 

With the wild thyme's breathings sweet ; 
Gently there the maiden ventured, 
Its dreamy shade she enter'd, 
And sat, a pearl centred, 

In its emerald retreat. 

Humm'd the bees in sunshine sleeping, 
Glanced the dewy wood-leaves weeping, 
Sung the streams, like harp-notes, creeping 

The small silvery stones among; 
The zephyr, like a dove, came, 
The sunny clouds above gleam, 
While Nature, in a love- dream, 

Gush'd out her heart of song. 

Fleetly pass'd each golden minute, 
Sweetly sung the lark and linnet, 
'Till in the burning zenith 

Blazed the hot meridian beam ; 
Still the brown maid of the valley, 
Like a sun-o'erheated lily, 
Lay in that scented alley, 

• Dreaming many a fairy dream. 

But, hark ! what sweet tones ringing, 
'Mid the rosy sunbeams springing? 
As if the flowers were singing 

An airy summer-lay! 
Or the bands of heaven descending, 
Their million harp songs blending, 
Round their sister-angel bending, 

To charm her away ! 



64 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The young maid gazed around her, 
With a look of joy and wonder, 
When from the green woods yonder 

A host of figures sprung, 
Youths and maidens, bright and splendid, 
In a radiant circle blended, 
And their merry laugh ascended, 

Like a gush of melting song. 

As the calm, grand rainbow beaming, 
'Mid the showery cloudlets streaming, 
With their rose-hued fringes gleaming 

In the April evening sun, 
So look'd their rich robes flowing, 
All their dazzling textures showing 
Like a mass of diamonds glowing, 

As the glorious band moved on 

But a youth of heavenly bearing, 
In the splendid van appearing — 
Like a prince of ancient Erin — 

To the brown-hair'd girl bow'd ; 
And his fond look^ seem'd to woo her 
For his bright eyes burn'd thro' her, 
As the regal youth moved to her, 

Bowing down his person proud. 

Waved his amber curls fantastic, 
Round his towering brow majestic, 
As he bent his knee elastic, 

Before the wondering dame ; 
To his lips of lusmore brightness, 
With a touch of breezy lightness, 
He press'd her hand of whiteness, 

Gently murmuring her name. 

Golden dews of odour breathing, 
Dreamy music — swelling, fading — 
Round the maiden's soul came wreathing 

Their delicious fairy spells ; 
And she felt as if up borne 
On the sunny wings of morn, * 

Never caring to return 

To her own green summer dells ! 

The red-faced sun was setting, 

And his gold-ray'd shafts were flitting 

Where the starry dew was wetting 

The lone graves of wild Croaghane ; 
Stole the breeze, in sleepy silence, 
From blue Shannon's reedy Islands, 
O'er dark Cratloe's wooded highlands, 

And Bunratty's sylvan lawn. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 65 

The birch-groves' rocking shadows, 
Like silent weeping widows, 
Moved along the lonely meadows, 

On the low sun's crimson bars ; 
And the night began to render 
To the hills its gloomy splendour, 
And heaven look'd clear and tender, 

As if cradling infant stars. 

On its grass-clad rock well-founded — 

With its ivy cochal round it, 

By a belt 01 dark trees bounded, — 

Frown'd Rosmanaher's castle tall ; 
And Bunratty's fortress hoary — 
Iron king of feudal glory — 
Seem'd to nurse some awful story 

In its time-defying wall. 

By Garna's fairy river, 

Where the tall, green marsh reeds quiver, 

Stood a youth as bold as ever 

Trod the old land of the Gael; 
By his glance you may discover 
Connor Roe, the outlaw'd rover, 
The fond, accepted lover 

Of the brown maid of the vale. 

Ah ! where delays the maiden 
Who has made his heart an Eden 
With love's dearest treasure laden 

For his Beautiful — his own ! 
The last sun-rose is dying 
The calm, clear, tranquil sky in; 
Still waiting, watching, sighing, 

Her lover stands alone. 

As he stood alone, and pondering, 
At the maiden's absence wondering; 
Down the churchyard path, meandering 

Four strange weird-like figures came, 
A gloomy coffin bearing 
To the ^graveyard, slowly steering, 
And in solemn grief appearing, 
As they bore the lifeless frame. 

Connor look'd, with airy feeling, 
On the silent cortege stealing ; 
No step — no voice revealing 

The sound of living thing ; 
Like cloud-shades of the brown night, 
On misty Boola's lone height, 
Drifting in the moonlight, 

Upon the south wind's wing. 



66 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Connor was a youth of daring, 
Neither fiend nor fairy fearing, 
And, as the forms were nearing 

The old, gray churchyard wall,* 
Forward on their path he darted ! 
With a sudden scream, they started, 
And, like flying mist, departed, 

Leaving coffin, corpse and pall ! 

Moan'd the owl and croak'd the raven, 
And the bending trees were waven 
By a blast that shriek'd thro' heaven, 

With a horrid ghostly groan ; 
And a black cloud, thick and chilling, 
All the scene with midnight filling, 
Rose darkly — densely swelling — 

Round the youth and coffin lone. 

Nothing fearing — nothing daunted — 
By no airy terrors haunted, 
He faced the bier enchanted, 

And tore the lid away! 
Slowly at the white corpse peeping — 
Then, with a cry, upleaping — 
There calmly, gently sleeping, 

His brown-hair'd girl lay ! 

The darken'd plain was shaking, 

And a million tongues seem'd speaking, 

As if the Dead were 'waking 

In every olden tomb ! 
And around his footpath narrow, 
Rung many a wail of sorrow 
That chill'd him to the marrow, 

As he bore the maiden home ! 

Her fairy trance is over, 

And the morning smiles above her, 

As she sits beside her lover, 

In her cottage, in the glen ; 
But her feet have lost their fleetness, 
And her face its bright repleteness, 
And her silvery laugh of sweetness 

Was never heard again ! 

* Croaghane Churchyard ; tradition states that within this very ancient 
burial ground, the bravest men and fairest women of Munster lie interred. 
It signifies, "John's Cross" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS 0¥ THOMOND. 67 

THE FENIAN BRIDE. 

On Cuil-na-lawn the Ceanna bhan 

Waves in the breeze its silvery plume ; 
The mist has roll'd its dewy fold 

Around Ardcuilen's crest of broom ; 
In Ballyosheen the trees are green, 

The linnet sings on wild Slieve JDoun ; 
But, oh, mo stoir ! my joy is o'er — 

My heart has lost its summer sun ! 

On Cuil-na-lawn the bright red dawn 

Had shower'd its crimson gems of light ; 
Each white cloud seem'd a snowy fawn 

Upon Ardcuilen's dusky height ; 
But ere the morn, on Callan's side, 

To glistening rubies turned the dew ; 
By lonely Cashen's briar-fringed tide, 

My mountain eagle from me flew. 

I mind the eve when Summer's breath 

Scarce stirr'd the mist on dark Knoc Ree, 
With trembling souls we sat beneath 

The snow-bloom of the wild haw-tree ; 
The bees were humming to their homes 

Within the heather's green retreats ; 
While, like their gushing honeycombs, 

Our hearts were filled with Nature's sweets. 

The moon look'd in on Knocmore glen, 

The crags like piles of silver shone, 
Where twice two hundred patriot-men 

Were marshalFd at his word alone ; 
The tale was told — the pass was sold — 

The patriot band was forced to flee ; 
And to escape a dungeon cold, 

My mountain eagle flew from me ! 

Again the beams of sunny Spring 

With crimson pearl-buds clothe the broom ; 
And freshening showers and sunshine bring 

To primrose banks a robe of bloom ; 
Again with rich, white beauty glows 

The bosom of the wild haw-tree ; 
Yet Spring, with all her balm, bestows 

No happy bloom of heart to me. 

On bleak Craighbhan I sit alone, 

The mountain-breeze around me sighs ; 
My tears have warm'd the cold, gray stone, 

And burn'd a circle round my eyes ; 



68 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 

The hawk is flying to his nest 
High on the cliff's of dark Knoc Ree — 

But, och ! mo stoir ! my heart is sore ! 
My bird no more shall fly to me ! 



THE BATTLE OF MOINMOR.* 
a. d. 1151. 

Sing the day of Moinmor where the ravens were feasted, 
And the blood of the mighty, like water, was wasted ; 
Where many a fierce Gallowglass, Kern, and Bonnact, 
Came to conquer green Thomond, from Leinster and Con- 
naught. 
Thick as grain in the brown sheaves of autumn, they gather, 
And spread their dark lines o'er the face of the heather. 
Like the weird lights that gleam round the dark Rock of Cleenaf 
Shone the glittering war-axes of Meath and Lagenia. % 
Bright ridges of spear points, towards heaven, are gleaming, 
Like fire sparks that float o'er some doom'd city flaming. 

Proud Torlogh O'Brien, from Clan Carrha retreating, 

Sees the foemen assembled, and joys at their meeting. 

There's a dark, fiery stain on his high kingly honor, 

That he longs to blot out in the blood of O'Connor. 

And never did wolf gnash the fangs of his anger, 

When seeking the flocks in the rage of his hunger, 

With deadlier thirst to destroy and devour them, 

Than Thomond's fierce chief, when his foes stood before him. 

The eagle-soul'd Dalgais surround their great leader, 

Resolving to die or repel the invader. 

Tho' their numbers, by thousands, are less than the foemen, 

They fear not O'Connor's tall spearmen and bowmen ; 

* "This great battle was fought by Torloghuiore O'Brien, King of Munster. 
at the head of seven thousand Dalcassians, against the united forces of 
Leinster, Connaught and Meath, commandsiLb y T orlogh O'Connor, King 
of Connaught, father of the celebrated Rodie^eHBlonarch of Ireland. The 
cause of the conflict was jealousy of powerggcgHplllbion of territory between 
O'Brien and O'Connor. The latter Chiefwas marching to invade Thomond, 
—when overtaken, unwittingly, by O'Brien, who was returning to his prin- 
cipality after subduing the MacCarthys of Desmond. The armies met at 
Moinmor, an extensive plain in the Barony of Clanwilliam, and an engage- 
ment took place, the like of which was not seen since the day of Clontarf. 
The Dalgais, though overwhelmed by superior numbers, and quite unpre- 
pared for the contest, maintained their ground with desperate valour, and 
almost decimated the whole army of O'Connor; but the victory remained not 
with the invaders, until the entire army of Thomond was destroyed, all but 
one shattered battalion." — Historical Memoir the O'Briens. 

This fierce encounter destroyed more of the military prestige of Ireland 
than did the great fight of Clontarf. It opened a positive and easy avenue 
to the Norman robbers. The slaughter of the nobility on this field was 
fearful ; the annalists give a long list of it. 

t The residence of the Fairy Queen, Cleena— a romantic cliff, in the county 
Cork, about which many wild legends are told. 

t The ancient name of Leinster. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 69 

But their iron-nerved grasp on their axe-handles tight'ning, 
On they move, like the spirits that ride heaven's lightning ; 
While their long-measured tread makes the ground tremble 

under, 
Like the deep-muffled sound of the low groaning thunder. 

The wild battle-blast of the trumpet has sounded, 
And swift to the onset the giant hosts bounded ; 
The field flamed and roared with the torrent of arms, 
Like a huge forest swung by the madness of storms. 
Have you seen, at Ardmore, the white billows advancing, 
When the sea to the tune of the whirlwind is dancing ? 
And the wave-giants, rising and roaring together, 
With their awful war-songs, charging mad on each other? 

Thus raged the dread fight, in tumultuous disorder, 
And the sounding plain trembled from centre to border. 
Spears whistled and rattled in deadly collision, 
To the hearts of the combatants seeking admission ; 
Souls of heroes — forgetting the temples that shrined them — 
Flew out thro' red rents from the clay that confined them : 
Shields leap'd from the axes, in many a splinter, 
Like wither'd leaves tost from the dark groves of winter ; 
And towering heads sunk, with the helmets that bound them, 
While their reeking brains smoked on the weapons that found 
them. 

But in vain are the fearless Dalcassians contending, 
For the might of fresh legions their phalanx is rending : 
And the powers of the foemen seem growing around them 
More fast than their gore-clotted weapons can wound them ; 
Like billows of fire, on the ranks they are closing, 
New ramparts of steel to their bosoms opposing ; 
And fast as they come, yet the Dalgais are mowing 
Their lines, thick as sleet when the north wind is blowing. 

"Oh ! green-bosom'd Thomoncl ! thou'rt bravely defended ! 
And thy foes shall be few when the conflict is ended. 
Stand together, ye flowers of the children of Heber ! 
Whose strong hands were made for the broad axe and sabre ! 
With those bright blades of valour that ever array'd you, 
Give a grave to the raiders that dared to invade you ! 
Oh ! think of your honors, as heroes and freemen ! 
And think of the fame of your proud, queenly women ! 
And think of the glory that courted and crown'd you ! 
When Erin's Kings bow'd in submission around you ! 
Let your dark foes remember this great day, with sorrow, 
And curse the war hawks of the House of Kinkora ! 
Your fathers in battle were never defeated, 
No field show'd the mark where their footsteps retreated ! 
Their proud faces ne'er show'd the white hue of pallor, 
When the vengeance of war met their bosoms of valour ! 



70 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Up, Torlogh ! thou fire-hearted, eagle-eyed warrior ! 
In the red time of danger our beacon and barrier ! 
Is the hot blood of Brian in thy royal veins failing — 
Is the lion growing weak, that the fawns are prevailing ? 
No ! — tho' unprepared the fierce enemy found you, 
Tho' his strong-handed thousands are pressing around you ! 
Tho' his masses of Steel on thy host thickly cluster, 
Like fire-laden clouds when at midnight they muster. 
There's a soul of defiance, proud burning, within you ! 
Whose towering ambition an empire might win you ! 
Then on to the fight — in the van let them find you — 
Oh ! why should the bard of your glory remind you ! 
Prince of the rich gifts, and strong steeds of fleetness ! 
Prince of the grand halls, and wild harps of sweetness ! 
Prince of dark forests, green pastures and cattle ! 
Prince /6f bright swords, in the red day of battle ! 
Let tby loud voice be heard thro' the startled field ringing, 
Like the storm spirit's tone in the mountain wood singing ! 
Fire thy chiefs to their high posts of danger and honour, 
And fling their fierce might on the host of O'Connor ! " 

Oh ! they come at the call of their trumpet-tongued leader, 
With their uplifted axes all blazing together ; 
And they drive on the foe, in their hot fury thirsting, 
Like a mad, hill-hemm'd flood on the wasted vales bursting. 
Wild was their shock, as the monster waves meeting 
At Shannon's dark mouth, when the tide is retreating. 
How the fast sinking ranks reel and tumble before them, 
Like reeds, when the wrath of the lightning sweeps o'er them. 
Red was their track thro' the centre enlarging ! 
Thick was the blood shower that smoked at their charging ! 
Many the steel-cloven corpses deep strewing 
Their widening pathway of carnage and ruin. 
Fierce was the clang of ten thousand swords cleaving 
Their way, like the waves when'the ocean is heaving ; 
While the hosts seem to melt, as the mountain mists sweeping 
Thro' heaven, when the blast from its slumber is leaping. 

Have you seen, in the black face of midnight, the gleaming 

Of meteors of fire thro' the parted clouds streaming ? 

While river and wood seem with terror to tremble, 

As in air's gloomy bosom dark demons assemble ; 

The purple-edged fire-clouds, unmoved and unriven, 

Seem hanging like pitch -co ver'd mountains in heaven ! 

Till, sudden, their mighty artillery awaken — 

33iey burst with a crash, and creation is shaken ! 

Thug jfche warriors appear'd thro' the battle-tide dashing, 

Jhwffiiing their sharp axes thro' steel helmets crashing ; 

i%« W&. rain of toil down their foreheads is pouring, 

And tSir greedy blades steam with the lives they're devouring ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 71 

Half the mighty Dalcassians in carnage are lying, 

And yet not a man from the combat is flying ; 

But, seeming to gather new vigour, they rally, 

And cleave thro' the foemen a blood-crimson'd alley. 

O'Connor's fierce war-cry encounter'd O'Brien's, 

As, 'mid the red conflict, they met, like two lions ; 

Or two haughty eagles, on storm-lifted pinion, 

Contesting their claim to the aerial dominion. 

Lo ! they fight, in the midst of the gore-deluge horrid, 

With wrath in each eyeball and gloom on each forehead ; 

And never met chiefs, in the battle's dread clangor, 

More deadly and hot with the flames of their anger. 

O'Connor appear'd against Thomond's proud leader, 

Like a portly round tower by a hugh mountain cedar ; 

While the weapons of slaughter raged harmless round them, 

As if none, but their own steel, was worthy to wound them ! 

With shields, like hill crags by the lightning strokes rifted, 

They closed, with their blood-painted axes uplifted, 

And they swerv'd from the blows, as if earthquakes shook them, 

While their helmets spit fire at the weapons that struck them ! 

Gore splash 'd in the track of their deadly advances ! 

The poison of serpents seem'd mixed in their glances ! 

Their arms sway'd, like wings of an eagle in motion, 

Or the shark's rapid fins when he darts thro' the ocean ! 

Have you heard the strong hammers the metal war waging, 

When the sons of the forge the red iron are sledging ? 

The shrill-ringing anvil, repeatedly stricken, 

Roars a long, rusty note as the heavy blows quicken ! 

Thus on their orb'd bucklers, half shatter'd and sunder'd, 

In clanging succession their war-axes thunder'd. 

But the steel of O'Brien thro' his foe's corslet rushes, 

And red on its blue edge the royal blood gushes ! 

He reel'd, as the stroke on his bosom resounded, 

And fierce on the proud King of Thomond he bounded ! 

Like giants, in frenzy, they clutch one another, 

And roll on the blood-sheeted war-field together ! 

The sound of their fall and their armour's deep rattle, 

Like death-bells, are heard o'er the clang of the battle ! 

The quivering sward by their fierce weight is dinted, 

As, like two raging leopards, they struggled and panted ! 

Around them the torrent of battle is sweeping, 

Like a ghost-ridden squall o'er a broken bank leaping ! 

To rescue their leaders both armies contended, 

Spears, axes, and swords in one fearful crash blended ; 

Thick showered the blows, o'er the prostrate kings ringing, 

And the sluices of life were all open and springing. 

Like a red sunset purpling the sea's stormy water, 

A blood-haze enveloped that whirlwind of slaughter. 

Pile on pile, the deep mass of dead heroes is growing 

As fast as the drift when the dark sky is snowing. 



72 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

You'd have thought— so determined the warriors contended, — 
That the kingdoms of earth on the combat depended. 

From the dread pile of carnage the princes are torn, 
And, wounded and weak, to their chariots they're borne ; 
But the haughty O'Brien sees no host to defend him, 
For few are the faithful chiefs left to befriend him ! 
Of all the brave thousands, his glory maintaining, 
One shattered battalion, alone, is remaining ! 
And they bear him away, in their stalwart embraces, 
With grief in their great souls, and gore on their faces. 

They retreat, through Clanwilliam, all sadly and slowly, 
Round their Prince, in his chariot, desponding and lowly ! 
But the toil-wearied victors forbore to pursue them, 
As they looked on the battle-wreck'd plain where they knew 

them. 
Oh ! ne'er shall that field from dark memory's mirror, 
Withdraw its grim, blood-shrouded image of terror! 

'Tis twilight — the pale sky with white stars is studded, 
And the West with deep shadowy crimson is flooded ! 
The victors remain on the war field blood-clotted, 
Like a few stunted trees where a forest once nodded. 
No wild cheer was heard the red victory greeting, 
But silent, as ghosts, was the conquerors' meeting! 
Ah ! dearly they paid for their triumph of honor, 
And small was the trophy it yielded O'Connor! 

Where's the glory of which you pretend to have tasted? 
Where's the conquest for which your dear country was 

wasted? 
The meed of your rancour and discord is granted — 
You have done — basely done— what the foreigners wanted ! 

SONG OF IRISH EMIGRANTS. 

Air — "Cruiskeen Lawn." * 

'Tis the last night of our stay 

Ere we wander far away ! 
To seek our fortune on a foreign shore ; 

But, before we brave the sea, 

Let us on this night be gay ! 
For, to-morrow, we may part to meet no more, boys ! no more ! 

To-morrow, we may part to meet no more ! 

To a strange and distant land — 

With honest heart and hand ; 
Strong destiny obliges us to roam ; 

Yet, be it weal or woe, 

To whatever port we go, 
We won't forget the old friends at home, boys ! at home ! ^ . 

We won't forget the old friends at home ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 73 

Then fill your glasses high, 

For our parting time is nigh ! 
And to-morrow we'll be far away from here ; 

Then our friends will be alone ! 

But they'll miss us when we're gone ! 
And they'll pray for our success, with a tear ! boys ! a tear ! 

And pray for our success ! with a tear ! 

They say Australia's land 

Is wealthy, great and grand ! 
With its fields rich in gold's shining ore ; 

But if every grain of sand 

Were a diamond on its strand, 
We'll still love poor Ireland more, boys ! more ! 

We'll still love poor Ireland more ! 

Farewell, birth-place of our love — 

May the angel-powers above 
Give our ship a peaceful sea and gentle wind ! 

And tho' other lands may be 

Independent, rich and free ; 
Yet there's none like the Land we leave behind ! boys ! behind! 

There's none like the Land we leave behind ! 

Here's a health to those we leave 

In the country of the brave 

May the day-star of Freedom on them smile ! 

May God from His high Throne 

Give our people back their own ! 
And drive the perjured Saxon from our Isle ! boys ! our Isle! 

And drive the perjured Saxon from our Isle ! 

Here's to all our youthful joys 

With the pleasant girls and boys ! 
And every honest friend we love and know — 

On Australia's golden shore 

There is wealth for us in store ; 
And the morning is approaching ! we must go ! boys ! go ! 

The morning is approaching ! we must go ! 



MARYANNE'S CHARMS. 

My Maryanne's hair is like the gossamer-threads, 
When they float in silver wreaths o'er the flower-f ring'd meads ; 
Round her peril-white temples its rich rings are straying, 
Like the Lake's sunny curls around water-lilies playing. 

My Maryanne's eyes are two blue w T ells of light, 

Were they set in heaven, as stars, day would die in love with 

night ; . 

Nature, anxious to make something on earth, like angel-eyes, 
To form Maryanne's, stole the crystal of the skies ! 
6 



74 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

My Maryanne's voice has a fairy-harp's tone, 
When 'tis heard in the twilight-fields lovely and lone ; 
While the flowers, all enamour'd, on their dew-pillows round, 
Seem imploring the sweet airs to call back the sound ! 

My Maryanne's lips would the wild bees allure, 
Like the red bell-blossoms of the fairy lusmore ; 
Love rifled all the rose-tints of the brilliant sunset-sky, 
And gave to my fair one's lips their richest crimson dye. 

My Maryanne's foot is as light, and as white 

As a butterfly's wing in its sunny May-flight ; 

The wild mountain gold-flower may bend to her tread, 

Without losing one gem from the crown on its head. 

My Maryanne's bosom is smoother than silk, 
And white as a silver cup flowing with new milk ; 
Her garments float round her, like veils on a shrine, 
Or a parterre of flowers o'er a diamond-mine. 

Last Sunday, at Mass, my young colleen was there, 
And looking at her I forgot Priest and prayer ; 
And I thought, "what a fine place this world would be ! 
If all were as sinless and lovely as she !" 

Yester-eve, as she walked by the blue-bosom'd tide, 
I deserted my comrades, and stole to her side ; 
My poor, dreaming heart twenty love-speeches framed, 
But, to give them an echo, my tongue got ashamed. 

At' last, we sat down 'mong the white daisy -bells, 
And I dived for her thoughts in her two azure wells ; 
And there her kind spirit said something to mine, 
Which I heard not but felt to be almost divine. 

I press'd her hand gently — the press was return'd, 
Aid her soft virgin eye with a sweeter beam burn'd ; 
I said, " Can you love me ?" and drew her to my breast ; 
And she, blushing, whisper'd, "Yes !" and— "Shrove" told 
the rest ! 



DRUNKEN THADY.* 

(A LEGEND OF LIMERICK.) 

Before the famed year Ninety-eight, 
In blood stamp'd Ireland's wayward fate ; 
When laws of death and transportation 
Were served, like banquets, thro' the nation — 
But let it pass — the tale I dwell on 
Has nought to do with red Rebellion ; 

*^Ehis -was a real character ; he was a weaver by trade. He died in XBSSL 
Aged* 9? years. . ., . * 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 75 

Altho' it was a glorious ruction, 

And nearly wrought our foes' destruction. 

There lived and died in Limerick City, 
A dame of fame — Oh ! what a pity 
That dames of fame should live and die, 
And never learn for what, or why ! 
Some say her maiden name was Brady, 
And others say she was a Grady ; 

The d 1 choke their contradictions ! 

For truth is murder 'd by their fictions. 

'Tis true she lived — 'tis true she died, 

'Tis true she was a Bishop's bride, 

But for herself, 'tis little matter 

To whom she had been wife or daughter. 

Whether of Bradys or O'Gradys ! 

She lived, like most ungodly ladies ; 

Spending his Reverend Lordship's treasure 

Chasing the world's evil pleasure ; 

In love with suppers, cards, and balls, 

And luxurious sin of festive halls, 

Where flaming hearts, and flaming wine, 

Invite the passions all to dine. 

She died — her actions were recorded — 

Whether in Heaven or Hell rewarded 

We know not, but her time was given 

Without a thought of Hell or Heaven. 

Her days and nights were spent in mirth — 

She made her genial Heaven of earth ; 

And never dreamt, at balls and dinners, 

There is a Hell to punish sinners. 

How quick Time throws his rapid measure 

Along the date of worldly pleasure ? 

A beam of light, 'mid cloudy shadows, 

Flitting along the autumn meadows ; 

A wave that glistens on the shore, 

Retires, and is beheld no more ; 

A blast that stirs the yellow leaves 

Of fading woods, in autumn eves ; 

A star's reflection on the tide, 

Which gathering shadows soon shall hide. — 

Such and so transient, the condition 

Of earthly joys and man's ambition. 

Death steals behind the smile of joy, 

With weapon ready to destroy ; 

And, tho' a hundred years were past, 

He's sure to have his prey at last. 

And, when the fated hour is ready, 

He cares not for a lord or lady ; 

But lifts his gun, and snaps the trigger 

And shoots alike the king and beggar. 



76 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And thus the heroine of our tale, 

He shot, as fowlers shoot a quail ; 

And, 'mid the flash of pomp and splendor, 

He made her soul the world surrender. 

She join'd her fathers' awful forms 

'Mid rolling clouds and swelling storms ; 

And, lest the Muse would be a liar, 

I'm led to think she went no higher. 

But now I have some secret notion, 

She did not like her new promotion ; 

For if. she did she would remain, 

And scorn to come to earth again. 

But earth, the home of her affection, 

Could not depart her recollection 1 

So she return'd to flash and shine, 

But never more to dance or dine ! 

The story of her resurrection 

Flew out in many a queer direction ! 

Each night, she roam'd, with airy feet, 

From Thomond Bridge to Castle-street ;* 

And those that stay'd out past eleven, 

Would want a special guard from Heaven, 

To shield them, with a holy wand, 

From the mad terrors of her hand ! 

She knock'd two drunken soldiers dead, 

Two more, with batter'd foreheads, fled ; 

She broke the senlry-box in staves, 

And dash'd the>fragments in the waves ! 

She slash'd the gunners, left and right, 
w And put the garrison to flight ! 

The devil, with all his faults and failings, 

Was far mpre quiet in his dealings, 

(Notwithstanding all^that he lost), 

Than this unruly, ranipant she-ghost ! - 

No pugilist in Limerick town, * v 

Could kiock a man so quickly $own, 
Or deal an active blow so ready 
S»- -«**.;. T^floor one, as the Bishop's Lady ! 

And thus the ghost appear'd and vanished, 

Until her Ladyship was banish'd 
^ * By Father Power whom things of evil 

% Dreaded as mortals dread the devil ! 

f Off to the Red Bea shoreihe drove her, 

From which no tide nor time can move her, 

• I hare heard, since a child, mftHy curious anecdotes related of the 
«• Bishop's Lady ;" and, often hsNfe her midnight depredations formed 
themes of awe and interest, at jpuny a hearth-side, in the old locality 
which she haunted with a vengeance. Her nightly attacks were chiefly 
directed against the guard of the Castle-harrack garrison. But the nmo- 
cant tames of ghosts and ghost-stories are gone "by, and it would he well f&r 
*&fc$wintry if many of the living ghosts of the present age were only as 
harmless. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 77 

From numbering sands upon the coast 
That skirts the grave of Pharaoh's host ! 
A lady of her high-born station 
Must have acquired great education 
For such a clerkship — numbering sands, 
With no account-book, save her hands ! 

But, ere the Priest removed the Lady, 

There lived a "Boy," calPd "Drunken Thady /'' 

In Thomond-gate, of social joys, 

The birth-place of the " DeviVs Boys !" 

Thade knew his country's history well, 

And for her sake would go to hell! 

For hours he'd sit and madly reason 

Upon the honours of high treason ! 

What Bills the House had lately got in, 

What Croppies nimbly danced on nothing ! 

And how the wily game of State 

Was dealt and play'd in Ninety-eight ! 

How Wexford fought — how Ross was lost ! 

And all to Erin's bloody cost ! 

But had the powers of Munster 'risen, 

Erin had England by the weasan' ! 

He told long tales about those play-boys, 

Call'd Terry Alts and Peep -o'- day Boys 

Who roused, at night, the sleeping country, 

And terrified the trembling gentry ! 

Now who dare say that Irish history 
To Thady's breeding was a mystery ? 
Altho' the Parish Priest proclaim'd him, 
And, first of living devils named him ! 
In heart he was an Irish Lumper, 
But all his glory was a bumper ! 
He believed in God, right firm and well, 
But served no Heaven and feared no Hell ! 
A sermon on Hell's pains may start him, 
It may convince but not convert him ! 
He knew his failing and his fault 
Lay in the tempting drop of malt ; 
And every day his vice went further, 
And, as he drank, his heart grew harder. 
Ah, Thady ! oft the Parish Priest 
Call'd you a wicked, drunken beast ! 
And said you were the devil's handle f 
Of brazen, bare-faced, public scandal ! 
An imp, — without the least contrition — 
At whiskey, discord and sedition ! 
That drinking was your sole enjoyment, 
And breaking doors your whole employment ! 



78 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

That you — at every drunken caper — 
Made windows change their glass for paper ! 
That, sure as closed each Sunday night in, 
You set near half the parish fighting ! 
That, with your constant, droughty quaffing, 
You broke Moll Dea and Biddy Lavin ! 
And drove the two poor widows begging, 
For not a drop you left their keg in ! 
If Satan stood, with his artillery, 
Full at the gates of Stein's Distillery ; 
With Satan's self you'd stand a tussle 
To enter there and wet your whistle ! 

In vain the Priest reproved his doings — 
Even as the ivy holds the ruins — 
He caution'd, counsell'd, watch'd, and track'd him, 
But all in vain — at last he whack' d him ; 
And with a blackthorn, highly seasoned, 
He urged the argument he'd reasoned. 
But Thady loved intoxication, 
And foil'd all hopes of reformation ; 
He still rais'd rows and drank the whiskey, 
And roar'd, just like the Bay of Biscay. 
In every grog-shop he was found, 
In every row he fought a round ; 
The treadmill knew his step as well 
As e'er a bellman knew his bell ; 
The jail received him forty times 
For midnight rows and drunken crimes ; 
He flailed his wife and thump'd her brother, 
And burn'd the bed about his mother, 
Because they hid his fine steel pike 
Deep down in Paudh Molony's dike ! 
The guard was call'd out to arrest him, 
Across the quarry loch they chased him ; 
The night was dark, the path was narrow, 
Scarce giving room to one wheelbarrow ; 
Thade knew the scanty passage well, 
But headlong his pursuers fell 
Into the stagnant, miry brook, 
Like birds in birdlime sudden stuck. 
The neighbours said the devil steel'd him, 
For if the garrison assail'd him 
Inside King John's strong Castle-wall, 
He would escape unhurt from all ! 
All day he drank "potheen " at Hayes's, 
And pitch'd the King and Law to blazes ! 
He knocked his master on the floor, 
-.And kiss'd Miss Lizzy at the door ! 
Bu£efei*& drunken pranks went further, 
* ^him^sad he had milla murdher I 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 79 

The window panes he broke entire, 

The bottles flew about the fire ; 

The liquor, on the hearth increasing, 

Caught fire and set the chimney blazing ! 

The Reverend sage this deed admonish'd, 

The congregation stood astonish'd — 

He said that Thady was an agent 

Employ'd on earth by hell's black Regent ! 

And if he wouldn't soon reform, 

His place and pay would be more warm ! 

His vital thread would soon be nick'd, 

And into Hades he'd be kick'd ! 

Even there he would not be admitted, 

Except the Porter he outwitted ! 

For, if he got inside the wall, 

Most likely, he'd out-devil 'em all ! 

The people heard the sad assertion, 

And pray'd aloud for his conversion ! 

While Thady in the public-house 

Was emptying kegs and "brewing " rows •! 

For him the Priest prognosticated 

A woeful doom and end ill-fated ! 

And truth hath rarely disappointed 

The sayings of the Lord's Anointed ! 

But many a one in heaven takes dinner, 

Who died a saint and lived a sinner ! 

'Twere better far, and safer surely, 

To live a saint and die one purely ! 

All ye who're ready to condemn 

A fellow-child of clay, like him ! 

Try if yourselves need no repentance, 

Before you pass the bitter sentence ! 

And ere you judge your brother, first 

Remember that yourselves are dust ! 

But if your conscience tells you then 

That your own heart is free from sin — 

Cry, with the Pharisee, " Thank God I 

I am not like that wicked clod /" • 

But to our story of this queer boy 

Thady the drunken, devil-may-care-boy ! 

'Twas Christmas Eve — the gale was high — 

The snow-clouds swept along the sky ; 

The flaky drift was whirling down, 

Like flying feathers thro' the town. 

The tradesman chatted o'er his " drop" 

The Merchant closed his vacant shop 

Where, all day long, the busy crowd 

Bought Christmas fare, with tumult loud. 

The Grocer scored the day's amounts, 

The Butcher conn'd his fat accounts ; , , 



80 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The Farmer left the noisy mart, 
With heavy purse and lighten' d heart. 
In every pane the Christmas light 
Gave welcome to the holy night ; 
In every house the holly green 
Around the wreathed walls was seen ; 
The Christmas blocks of oak entire, 
Blazed, hiss'd and crackled in the fire ; 
And sounds of joy from every dwelling, 
Upon the snowy blast came swelling. 

The flying week, now past and gone, 
Saw Thady earn two pounds one ! 
His good employer paid it down, 
And warn'd him to refrain from town ; 
And banned the devilment of drinking, 
But Thady scorned his sober thinking ; 
He fobb'd the coin, with spirit light, 
To home and master bade good-night, 
And, like a pirate-frigate cruising, 
Steer'd to the crowded City, boozing ! 

The sweet-toned bells of Mary's tower, 
Proclaim'd the Saviour's natal hour ! 
And many an eye with pleasure glisten'd ! . 
And many an ear with rapture listen'd ! 
The gather'd crowd of charm'd people 
Dispersed from gazing at the steeple ; 
The homeward tread of parting feet, 
Died on the echoes of the street ; 
For Johnny Connell, that dreaded man,* 
With his wild-raking Garryowen clan, 
Clear'd the streets and smash'd each lamp, 
And made the watchmen all decamp ! 

• At half -past one the town was silent, 

Except a row rais'd in the Island, 

Where Thady — foe to sober thinking — 

With comrade boys sat gaily drinking ! 

A table with a pack of cards 

Stood in the midst of four blackguards, 

Who. with the bumper-draught elated, 

Dash'd down their trumps, and swore, and cheated! 
**& .Four pints, the fruits of their last game, 
'■-•' * 'White-foaming, to the table came ; 

They drank, and dealt the cards about, 

And Thady brought "fifteen wheel out/" 

Again the deal was Jack Fitzsimon's, 

He turned them up, and trumps were diamonds ; 

♦The fitr-famed Johnny of Garryowen notoriety, Mfter half a century of 
a terrible wild career, he died well, making ample restitution for his 
glorious mistakes. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 81 

The ace was laid by Billy Mara, 
And beat with five by Tom O'Hara ; 
The queen was quickly laid by Thady, 
Jack threw the king and douced the lady ! 
Bill jink'd the game and cried out, * ' Waiter ! 
Bring in the round, before 'tis later !" 
The draughts came foaming from the barrel ; 
The sport soon ended in a quarrel ; — 
Jack flung a pint at Tom O'Hara, 
And Thady levell'd Billy Mara ; 
The cards flew round in every quarter, 
The earthen floor grew drunk with porter ; 
The landlord ran to call the Watch, 
With oaths half Irish and half Scotch. 
The Watch came to the scene of battle, 
Proclaiming peace, with sounding wattle ; 
The combatants were soon arrested, 
But Thady got off unmolested. 

The night was stormy, cold and late, 

No human form was in the street ; 

The virgin snow lay on the highways, 

And chok'd up alleys, lanes, and byeways. 

The North still pour'd its frigid store, 

The clouds look'd black and threaten' d more ; 

The sky was starless, moonless, all . 

Above the silent world's white pall. 

The driving sleet-shower hiss'd aloud — 

The distant forest roar'd and bow'd ; 

But Thady felt no hail nor sleet, 

As home he reel'd thro' Castle-street. 

The whistling squall was beating on 

The batter d towers of old King John, 

Which guarded once, in warlike state, 

The hostile pass of Thomond-gate. 

The blinding showers, like silvery balls, 

Bustled against the ancient walls, 

As if determined to subdue 

What William's guns had fail'd to do ! 

Old Munchin's trees, from roots to heads, 

Were rocking in their churchyard beds ; 

The hoary tombs were wrapt in snow, y - % 

The angry Shannon roar d below. ..^ 

Thade reel'd along, in slow rotation, 

The greatest man in Erin s nation ; 

Now darting forward, like a pike, 

With upraised fist in act to strike ; 

Now wheeling backward, with the wind, 

And half to stand or fall inclined ; 

Now sidelong, 'mid the pelting showers, 

He stumbled near the tall round towers : 



82 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 

With nodding head and zig-zag feet, 

He gained the centre of the street ; 

And, giddy as a summer-midge, 

Went staggering towards old Thomond Bridge,* 

Whose fourteen arches braved so clever, 

Six hundred years, the rapid river ; 

And seem'd, in sooth, a noble picture 

Of ancient Irish architecture. 

But here the startled Muse must linger, 

With tearful eye and pointed finger 

To that dark river once the bed 

Of Limerick's brave defenders dead — 

There half the glorious hope she cherished, 

In one sad hour, deluded, perish'd ; 

The fatal draw-bridge open'd wide,+ 

And gave the warriors to the tide ; 

The flood received each foremost man, 

The rear still madly pressing on ; 

'Till all the glory of the brave 

Was buried in the whirling wave ; 

And heroes' frames — a bloodless slaughter — 

Chok'd up the deep and struggling water. 

Now Thady ne'er indulged a thought 
How Limerick's heroes fell or fought ; 
This night he was in no position 
For scripture, history, or tradition. 
His thoughts were on the Bishop's Lady — 
The first tall arch he'd cross 'd already ; 
He paused upon the haunted ground, 
The barrier of her midnight round. 
Along the Bridge-way, dark and narrow, 
He peep'd — while terror drove its arrow, 
Cold as the keen blast of October, 
Thro' all his frame and made him sober. 
Awhile he stood in doubt suspended, 
Still to push forward he intended ; 
When, lo ! just as his fears released him, 
Up came the angry ghost and seized him ! 
Ah, Thady ! you are done !— Alas ! 
The Priest's prediction comes to pass — 
If you escape this demon's clutch, 
The devil himself is not your match ! 

He saw her face grim, large and pale, 
Her red eyes sparkled through her veil ; 

* Old Thomond Bridge, with its fourteen arches, and the adjacent fortifi- 
cations, round towers, &c, were erected in the reign of King John. 

t This was the act of a traitor who held the command of the draw-bridge 
at the time of the siege. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 83 

Her scarlet cloak — half immaterial — 
Flew wildly round her person aerial. 
With oaths, he tried to grasp her form, 
'Twere easier far to catch a storm ; 
Before his eyes she held him there, 
His hands felt nothing more than air ; 
Her grasp press 'd on him cold as steel ; 
He saw her form but could not feel ; 
He tried not, tho' his brain was dizzy, 
To kiss her, as he kissed Miss Lizzy, 
But pray'd to Heaven for help sincere — 
The first time e'er he said a prayer. 

'Twas vain — the Spirit, in her fury, 

To do her work was in a hurry ; 

And, rising, with a whirlwind's strength, 

Hurl'd him o'er the battlement. 

Splash went poor Thady in the torrent, 

And roll'd along the rapid current, 

Towards Curragour's mad-roaring Fall 

The billows tost him, like a ball ; 

And who dare say, that saw him sinking, 

But 'twas his last full round of drinking ? 

Yet, no — against the river's might 

He made a long and gallant fight ; 

That stream in which he learned to swim, 

Shall be no watery grave to him ! 

Near, and more near he heard the roar 

Of rock-impeded Curragour, 

Whose torrents, in their headlong sway, 

Raged mad as lions for their prey ! 

Above the Fall he spied afloat 

Some object, like an anchor 'd boat, 

To this, with furious grasp, he clung, 

And from the tide his limbs upswung. 

Half -frozen in the stern he lay, 

Until the holy light of day 

Brought forth some kind assisting hand 

To row poor Thady to the strand. 

'Mid gazing crowds, he left the shore 

Well sober d, and got drunk no more ! 

And in the whole wide parish round, 

A better Christian was not found ; 

He loved his God and served his neighbour, 

And earn'd his bread by honest labour. 



84 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



REQUIEM FOR JOHN MITCHELL. 

'Tis midnight — the spectre-eyed meteor is red 
Where the dingy mist covers Camailta's bleak head ; 
And the cold, constant blast over Ara's dark broom, 
Seems to whisper of death and the grief of the tomb. 

Why moans the lone wood, like a ghost in despair 
Why looks yon dim star, like a blood-circled tear ? 
While a dismal sound throbs up from Shannon's deep tide, 
Like a lover's heart-groan at the grave of his bride. 

The skies of Tipperary are fringed with a cloud 
That hangs o'er her hills, like a wizard's black shroud ; 
While I mark its weird drapery, some phantasy dread 
Seems to whisper around me — " John Mitchell is dead /" 

Dark spirit ! whose voice 'wakes an echo of fear 
In the springs of my being when evil is near ! 
Accurst be thy white-phantom lips that have said, 
To the cold midnight shadows — " John Mitchell As dead /" 

Must evil for ever our Island consume 
With the gall of the traitor and grasp of the tomb ? 
Must every grand tree that grows up in our cause, 
Be consignM to the grave or cut down by the laws ? 

Ah ! something accurst has been doing or done, 
For which evils rain on us from heaven and its sun ; 
Lo ! every proud soul, with an arm raised to save 
Our Land — has been mark'd for the dungeon or grave ! 

Brave Oak of our freedom ! unbroken and unbent 
By the blasts which the tyrant and traitor have sent ; 
After all your long exile, and toils of the past, 
You came back .to poor Erin to die there at last ! 

Yes, o'er the wild seas, to her ever-loved shore, 
You return'd with the flag which at parting you bore ; 
Sure, for you, glorious martyr ! the world had no rest, 
Till you came back to Erin to sleep in her breast ! 

The proud eagle of Camailta that soars to the sun, 
Is the only grand type of the course you did run ! 
You stopp'd not for power and you paused not for prey, 
Like the Patriots that crawl at Baal's altar to-day ! 

Your county's deep love in your great soul you bore — 
That soul richly set with the gems of her lore ! 
Whose godlike ambition was only to see 
Her spoilers o'erthrown and her children free ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 85 

For the helots that crouch to the rods that control 
Each pulse of the heart, and each voice of the soul ; 
There was scorn on your high brow and fire on your tongue, 
Like a God-inspired prophet His people among ! 

Let our grief rain the calm drops of sorrowing pride, 
Such as sad Erin wept when her Owen Roe died ! 
But let no dastard tear of a helot be shed 
O'er the glorified dust of the mighty-soul'd Dead ! 



A MOTHER'S LAMENT FOR HER INSANE 
DAUGHTER. 

Mavourneen bhan deelish ! My heart's black with sorrow 

To see the young bloom of your Reason all gone ! 
Whose mind, like a rainbow, so lately could borrow 

The bright hues of heaven from intellect's sun ! 
Mavrone, oh, mavourneen ! My soul's living jewel ! 

When fate flung this mist on the beam of your mind, 
We thought you'd be cured — but, oh ! God ! 'tis too cruel, 

To see your young spirit still, living on, blind ! 

Oh, innocent darling, my poor, stricken daughter ! 

Those meaningless smiles on your cheek seem to be 
Like beams on the face of the cold, heartless water 

That feels not, nor cares how it rolls to the sea. 
The heavens may smile, but you heed not their smiling, 

The blossoms may blow, but you see not their bloom ! 
The mountains look grand and the meadows beguiling, 

But you are as cold to them all as the tomb ! 

God's worlds of light may roll on in their beauty, 

All singing His anthems of love round the Pole ; 
Their splendour and beauty ih vain may salute thee, 

Since your Reason's bright eye lost the star of its soul. 
Oh, cuishla mavourneen ! thrice black was the season, 

When this soul-shrouding shadow hath fallen upon thee ! 
Blighting and burning the flowers of thy Reason, 

As a blast tears the buds from a young summer tree ! 

Mavourneen machree ! you once made my life sunny ! 

My heart drank your smiles as a lily drinks dew ! 
But since your mind's honeycomb lost its bright honey, 

I'm like a poor, lonely bee mourning for you ! 
How long, oh, mo stoir ! will your young spirit linger 

In blank, dreary shadows of dreamland enshrined ? 
May the angel of God, with his bright shining finger, 

Brush off the bleak darkness that's clouding your mind ! 



86 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

COME, GENTLE SPRING. 

(1862.)* 

Come, gentle Spring, with thy blossoms and leaves, 

And sweet gales, and calm skies of sapphire and gold ; 
With thy clear, sunny morns and soft, shady eves, 

Oh ! come, gentle Spring, as thou earnest of old ! 
I have watch'd thy first bud on the branch of the tree ; 

I have mark'd thy first tears as they dropp'd from the sky ; 
I have hail ? d thy first daisy, adorning the lea, 

With a soft, snowy fringe round its bright-yellow eye ! 

I have yearn'd for thy beauty, thro' winter's bleak hours, 

When the silent snow lay on the hill's foggy side ; 
I have dreamt of thy verdure, thy sunbeams and showers, 

As a sick lover dreams of the smiles of his bride ! 
I have welcomed the glow of thy flower-nursing sun, 

Thro' his red, orient curtain of rainbow-mist seen, 
When the woods put the robes of their loveliness on, 

And the rich, glowing landscape look'd flowery and green. 

Tho' Seasons have vanish'd, my heart is the same, 

Since, in boyhood's first glee, 'mid thy glories I trod, 
And saw thee record, with a finger of flame, 

On mountain and meadow, the bounty of God! 
When, like two lovely sisters, sweet April and May, 

Thro' our bright, showery Island went laughing along, 
And rivall'd each other, upon their green way, 

With smiles rich in sunshine, and wild bursts of song. 

But now, thou art sullen and dark, gentle Spring ! 
Thy voice has no music — thy face has no mirth; 
Cold showers, chilly blasts, and black vapours you bring, 

As if God's love and bounty had fled from the earth ! 
Thy days, erst so golden, wax sickly and pale, 

Thy skies, erst so smiling, look cloudy and chill! 
Thy infant flowers droop in the half-perish'd vale, 
I As if winter's bleak shadows had linger'd there still ! 
■') 

tThe small brooks to broad lakes have grown with thy tears, 
And the young apple-blossoms are slain with thy breath, 
And the cold wood, half -naked and shivering, appears 

To whisper some dark tale of famine and death ! 
The black north-east wind shakes the sleet from its wing, 
And wails o'er the plain, like a funeral cry ; 
* The teds, in the groves, have forgotten to sing, 
As if Nature, in tears, was preparing to die ! 

* This season, like the present, 1879, was intensely severe, with continuous 
rain, blighting winds, gloomy days, &c. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 87 

Oh ! thou once-gentle and bright-beaming One ! 

Wilt thou cast the cold frowns of thine anger away? 
And put on a new dress of verdure and sun, 

And welcome, with smiles, thy fair daughter, sweet May? 
Oh ! throw off thy dank cloak of darkness, and smile, 

The plume of the raven becomes not the dove ; 
Pour the spirit of life in the veins of the soil, 

And breathe in our hearts the mild sweets of thy love ! 

THE WIDOW'S LAMENT.* 

Has my noble one perished? — Oh ! can I believe 

That his brightness and beauty were meant for the grave? 

There's a pain in my soul, for the tear-fountains there 

Have been dash'd to my eyes by the stroke of despair! 

O'er my spirit a desolate midnight is cast, 

Like a blight where the black-footed plague-fiend hath pass'd ; 

Oh ! the chords of my bosom are bleeding and torn, 

And my brain, like the bed of a furnace, doth burn! 

Has the palm of my heart's summer garden been stole, 

Whose sunny bloom sweeten'd the bower of my soul? 

Where his image has sunk itself deep, as the beam 

Of the yellow-brow'd sun in the breast of the stream. — 

Is he gone? — Oh ! my God ! I imagine the ray 

Of earth's glory is quench'd since you call'd him away ! 

There's a shadow o'er all — Heaven seems to my sight, 

As if Death held his wing between earth and its light. 

Let me weep o'er my love, 'till his white face appears 

Melting back into life, with the light of my tears ! 

'Till death, at my heart-burst of anguish, shall breathe 

A sigh of regret for the wreck he has made! 

Ah, my Idol ! thou'rt silent and frozen, as snow, 

But the stamp of thy soul is yet fair on thy brow; 

Like a pensive beam left on a gray cloud alone 

In the West, when the flame of the Day-God is gone ! 

The rich, silken fringe of the ringlets that gemmd 

Thy forehead hangs yet o'er its white throne undimm'd; 

But the bright berry-stain of thy lip had not fled, 

Could I kiss a new soul in its crescent of red ! 

Yes ! thy brow yet has light on its snow-palace fair, 

O God! what a halo of manhood was there! 

What a sun-torrent flash'd from the wells of those eyes, 

Like morning's gemm'd arrows shot down from the skies! 

While my heart to the music that burst from thy mouth, 

Danced' light, as a flower in the gale of the South! 

* The above lament was composed for a gentleman of great worth, and 
learning, who died suddenly in Limerick some years ago. He was re- 
spected and loved, by all classes of the community, for his true goodness of 
heart and brilliant attainments. 

This accomplished person was William Fitzgerald, Mayor of Limerick, in 
1861. His death occurred in the year of his mayoralty. 



88 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And thou'rt gone from my soul and the babes of thy love? 

So sudden — Oh ! Merciful Maker above ! 

When you summon 'd my darling for ever from me, 

Had I seen the dread angel that brought the decree, 

At his dark, awful feet I would fling myself down, 

And my heart, wing'd with prayer, would rush up to Thy 

Throne! 
And I'd clasp in my arms his pinions' black plume, — 
Tho' the light of my eyes were struck dead with his gloom, — 
And I'd show him my babes, and implore him to spare 
Their sire, 'till he'd listen and yield to my prayer, 
And pity my madness of grief, and depart 
With his gloomy wing moist with the tears of my heart! 
Oh ! I'd tell all the bounties my darling's hand spread, 
And I'd number the widows and orphans he fed — 
But I'm raving — I'm raving — the blast on the plain 
Of the desert, can not be so wild as my brain ! 

Oh! his spirit was rich as a golden Spring-day, 

And no cloud ever shadow'd the calm of its ray ; 

And the high, noble tone of his manners and mind, 

Like a magnet, drew round him the hearts of mankind : 

His wisdom, his talent, his beauty ! — Heaven ! 

Was it all for the grave that such bright gifts were given? 

Ha! see how the pale-handed Angel succeeds 

In destroying Earth's blossoms while sparing the weeds! 

Sure my lost one was generous in kind deeds, each day, 

And a halo of blessings was shower'd on his way ; 

But all could not shield his young heart from the stroke 

That slew him, as steel slays the stately hill-oak ! 

Oh! the dim sky appears like a winding-sheet spread, 

And the face of the earth to my vision looks dead ! 

And the moaning of ghosts seems to come in my ears, 

And the City looks black with a rain-mist of tears ! 

The carriage of death, with its raven-like plume, 

Is waiting to take you away to the tomb ; 

But I'll not let you go — they'll not take you from me, 

'Till I empty my heart of its last drop o'er thee! 

'Till my eye-founts, exhausted, in darkness shall swim, 

And my soul, in a blood-circle, melt on their rim! 

Ah ! the grave-stone that soon shall close o'er thy young brow, 

Has a shadow less black than my dreary heart now ! 

The day -beam of heaven shall brighten no more 

Thy face that so proudly God's grand image bore ; 

And the worms shall creep thro' those ringlets of light 

That flowed, like calm rays round a summer-cloud white ! - 

Thou wilt lie in the clay — in the deep horrid gloom — 

And I'll sit, in my desolate sorrow, at home, 

With my spirit in streams, and thy babes at my knee 

Looking round, with their innocent blue eyes, for thee ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE DARK-HAIRED BOY, 

Camailte's hill is bright, 

With its scarf of azure-sheen, 
And the glowing gems of heaven 

In its glist'ning crown of green : 
But I know a dark hair'd youth, 

With a heart as bright and high 
As the cloud that drinks the sunbeam 

On its summit, in the sky. 
'Twas on a bright red eve, 

In the fiery month of June, 
When the heavens seem to boast 

They can do without the moon, 
I put on my Sunday gown, 

With three flashy flounces gay, 
And green as that wild meadow 

Where the mountain Fairies play. 

To the crossing of four roads, 

Where the dance was held, I sped, 
With some notion, I believe, 

Of a lover, in my head ! 
The boys and maids were up 

In their native jigs and reels, 
And you'd think the very wind 

Lent its pinions to their heels. 
I sat upon the hedge-bank, 

Looking — laughing — at the fun, 
With my heart upon a thorn, 

Till the merry reel was done ; 
Then a slender, dark-hair'd boy, 

With a playful, smiling glance. 
Came, and bowing, took my hand. 

And invited me to dance. 

I rose slowly to my feet, 

And pretended to look shy, 
While the heart, within my breast, 

Gave a ringing laugh of joy. 
O'er the white face of the road, 

Our quick feet chased the tune 
Of "The Piper in the Meadow!" 

And the merry "Young May Moon! 
Oh ! I never felt so glad, 

And I never danced so light, 
But when I turn'd home, 

Little I did sleep that night. 
At last when slumber came — 

It was but to cheat me then — 
I was dancing, in a dream, 

With the dark-hair'd boy again ! 
7 



90 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

When day roll'd o'er the fields 

Its yellow, glancing ring, 
I took my milking-can, 

And went for water to the spring : 
But as I stood awhile, 

In the meadow, looking round, 
O'er the blooming thorn fence 

Came my dark boy, with a bound. 
How I felt I could not tell, 

Were I speaking for a week ; 
But I thought my leaping heart 

Flung red fire upon my cheek ; 
He spoke a few kind words, 

And, I think, they had the tone 
Of the airy sounds that float 

Round the summer's leafy throne. 

I gazed upon his locks, 

All as curling and as black 
As a raven-bosom'd cloud, 

With a sunburst on its back ; 
And his eye laugh'd, like a gem 

In a shaded pearl-ring, 
. As he took my yielding hand, 

And came with me to the spring. 
We sat upon the marge, 

Where flowers, red, white, and blue, 
In their green beds, slept away, 

Their carouse of gushing dew. 
By the crystal-bosom'd well, 

There weftalk'd for two long hours, 
While his words grew round my heart, 

Like a glowing zone of flowers. 

And when we 'rose to part, 

And he turn'd to go away, 
Oh ! I'd give the whole wide world 

To be near him all the day ! 
He said he loved me truly, 

And his bright eyes seem'd to swear 
That each tender word he utter'd, 

From his young heart, was sincere. 
Oh ! I'll wear no other gown, 

But the green one, every day, 
For its colour is so rich, 

And its flounces are so gay ; 
A gentle, Irish maiden 

To her Irish lover 's seen 
In the true light of her beauty, 

When she's dress'd in native green ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 91 



THE WOODS AND WATERFALLS OF DOONASS. 

When the calm sunset firing its red gold on the heather, 
And the clouds on the gray hills were resting together, 
And the winds, as if tired of their sporting thro' heaven, 
Fell asleep on the white, silver bosom of even, 
Then I stray'd — as one strays in a splendid night-vision, 
'Mid scenes robed in glory, all wildly Elysian — 
Where Doonass lifts to heaven its forests of darkness, 
And the naked rocks frown, in their desolate starkness ! 

The sapphire-zoned moon, in her mid-summer mildness, 
Lit the lone, dreary night-scene of beautiful wildness, 
And the gloom-shrouded forest, deep, silent, and hoary, 
Received, with cold frowns, the rich gift of her glory ; 
While convulsively roar'd the dread cascade gigantic, 
As if giving birth to another Atlantic ; 
And its surges leap'd madly, o'er rocks rent asunder, 
Like a host of white demons with trumpets of thunder. 

Where the woods shake their crowns, 'mid the hall of the 

lightning, 
O'er the battle of torrents, all whirling and whitening, 
Stretching down to the wild flood their arms stupendous — 
As if conciliating the giant tremendous — 
I sat on a bank, with pale summer-gems spangled, 
O'erscreened by those boughs, with their green shadows 

tangled, 
While the dim, silvery spray, from the dashing Falls driven, 
Gleam'd on them, like sparks from the star-fires of heaven. 

In the bloom- co ver'd parterres, that o'er me ascended, 

Earth's sweetness, with all heaven's brightness, seem'd blended ; 

Spring's wardrobe, where Nature puts on her choice dresses, 

When virgin May 's coming to meet her caresses, 

Like breathings of angels, the winds from the meadows, 

With murmurs of joy, fell asleep in their shadows ; 

And the woods' moonlight helmets seem'd lightly to quiver, 

As timing the organ-toned song of the river. 

The charms of Hy Brazil,* by spirit-hands painted, 
'Mid the waves' sunset glory, ne'er look'd so enchanted, 
As fairy Doonass, when the Night Queen doth render 
The spell of her beams to its wild summer splendour. 

* A beautiful phantom Island, called Hy Brazil, is said, by the peasantry 
of Arran, to make its appearance above the waters of the Atlantic, clothed 
with indescribable splendour ; but any one attempting to visit it is sure 
never to return. It was in early ages supposed to be the Elysian Bower of 
the Pagan Irish, i. e., Tir-na-n-oge. 

See Gerald Griffin's magnificent Poem on Hy Brazil, and another en the 
same subject by the talented R. D. Joyce. 



92 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

As dreamland appears to the soul of the sleeper, 
Changing wilder and brighter, and darker and deeper, 
Thus rose the weird landscape of grandeur before me, 
Like an Eden, just dropp'd from the star-islands o'er me. 

Bank, bower, hill and lawn, look'd so richly united, 

They seem'd with each other's wild beauty delighted ; 

While the planets, as wrapt in sublime meditation, 

Hung o'er the bright picture, in mute adoration ! 

Oh ! to see it, when Morn, with her vesture of whiteness, 

Walks o'er the blue hills, in her new-born brightness ! 

What a grand, fairy halo of magic glows round it, 

When the rich sunny splendour of daylight has crowned it ! 

Then look, with thy soul, from that Eden of sweetness, 
On the glories that circle the river's wild fleetness ; 
From gay Castle Connell,* and Erina's green alleys, 
To lordly Mount Shannon of flower-cover'd valleys : 
Feast thine eyes on those scenes, all with magic abounding, 
Hear the waterfalls' thunderous music resounding ; 
And thou'lt feel that the seasons ne'er paid their bright visit 
To a landscape of beauty so wildly exquisite ! 

Behold it in Springtime — how vernal and bowery ! 
Behold it in Summer — how radiant and flowery ! 
Behold it in Autumn — romantic and airy ! 
Behold it in Winter — how awful and dreary ! 
In Springtime the greenest ! in Autumn the mildest ! 
In Summer the grandest ! in Winter the wildest ! 
O Nature ! thou st painted no scenes to surpass 
The bright waterfalls and green woods of Doonass ! 



O'NEILL'S GATHERING. 

A BARDIC WAR ODE. 

The clans are trooping from the hills — 

Lamh dearg Aboo !f 
Wild their martial war-cry swells — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
High waves the Bloody Hand 
Over the rushing band, 
That burns to bleed for Erin's land — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 

* Properly, Castle Connaing. It derived its name from the once powerful 
family of O'Connaing, or Gunning, who inherited the Castle and ruled the 
districts around. It is stated that a troop of cavalry could manoeuvre in the 
great hall of this mighty fortress. Itself and Carrigogunnell were almost 
entirely blown up by gunpowder, after the Siege of Limerick, by a paid 
Vandal, named Ormsby. 

t The Red Hand for erer— the war-cry of O'Neill's clansmen. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 93 

Here come O'Donnell's spears — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
Hark ! how Tyrconnell cheers, 

Bataillah Aboo ! 
Here comes the proud O'Neill, 
Flaming with Freedom's zeal, 
In Saxon blood to plunge his steel — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 

Who would be so base or mean, 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
To kneel before the Saxon Queen ? 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
Oh, sun ! withdraw thy blessed ray ! 
And, Mother Earth, dissolve away, 
Ere we behold that hateful day ! 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 

Still the blood of mighty kings — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
In O'Neill's proud bosom springs — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
The rushing sea shall turn to stone, 
And heaven and earth in fetters groan 
Ere he shall bow before her throne — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 

Now is the time to know — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
Erin's true friend or foe — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
Ye who feel Erin's woe — 
Ye who hate Erin's foe — 
Forward, and strike the blow ! 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 

Fetters and famine-graves — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
Are the reward of slaves — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
Sons of the brave and free, 
Lovers of Liberty ! 
Onward to victory ! 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! . 

Who'd prefer a shackled hand — 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
To a brave battle-brand ? 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 
Shackled hands, let them stay 
Battle brands ! up — away ! 
Freedom is yours to-day ! 

Lamh dearg Aboo ! 



94 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND, 

THE BATTLE OF CLONTIBRET.* 
(a.d. 1593.) 

The noonday sun, at Clontibret, blazed on the helms and 

spears 
Of Norrey's far-extended ranks and Segraye's cuirassiers, 
While closely set, in grand array, with sparths all naming 

bright, 
Stood princely Hugh's embattled clans, fierce, thirsting for the 

fight. 

High in the Chief's refulgent van the royal Red Hand stream'd, 
And many a princely helm beneath that glorious banner beam' d ; 
And many a stalwart arm of wrath, and many a heart of fire, 
Thirsted to drown, in Saxon blood, the Gael's eternal ire. 

Along the vale one burning sea of polish'd steel is pour'd, 
One furious surge of human force, with many a lifted sword ; 
A Nation's spirit blazing up 'gainst foreign fraud and might, 
A Nation's hand, in vengeance raised, to guard her sacred 
right. 

Hoi Norreys, tho' thy alien powers in arms and gold are 

strong, 
They soon shall feel the dire result of Right confronting 

Wrong ; 
Not one of all thy pirate tribe, embattled for the fray, 
Shall e'er forget the black defeat that waits them here to-day. 

Now swelling wild, along the plain, the thunderous war-notes 

ring, 
And with their peal a roar of arms resounds from wing to wing, 
As. when, upon the darken'd main, a sudden whirlwind springs, 
And in the angry face of heaven the boiling ocean flings. 

Now forward, in tempestuous sweep, with lifted spear and 

targe, 
Across the stream, like hungry wolves, the Saxon columns 

charge ; 
But back they reel, before their foes, upon the river's banks, 
As if a shower of heaven's bolts had cleft their bleeding ranks. 

With loud harangue, and gesture stern, their General checks 

the flight, 
And, wheeling back their bristling tide, renew'd the furious 

fight; 

* Five miles from the town of Monaghan lies the celebrated battle-field 
of Clontibret, where Hugh O'Neill, Prince of Ulster, defeated a great Eng- 
lish army, commanded by General Norreys. and in the thick of the con- 
flict, encountered and slt>w Se^rave, a Meathiau officer of gigantic stature, 
who headed a body of English cavalry. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 95 

Then blazed the muskets of the Gael along the blasted plain, 
Then crash'd the axe, and rung the sword, and swell'd the 
Saxon slain. 

The grim, ascending cloud of war shut out the burning sun, 
And swathed, in its ghastly folds, the flash of sword and gun, 
'Till rolling, like a stream of fire, from out its deadly shade, 
The Saxon ranks, in frantic rout, across the river sway'd. 

Again they rally and return— again the conflict's roar, 

Like the dread voice of an earthquake, rolls along the sounding 

shore ; 
Again the bosom of the plain is wrapt in lurid flame ; — 
Again the broken Saxon host is driven o'er the stream. 

Now thrice across that blood-dyed stream, the scourgers of 

the world, 
With shatter'd ranks, and tatter'd flags, in headlong flight 

were hurl'd ; 
Each time a grove of reeking steel was buried in their frames, 
And thickly burst the rain of death in smoking lochs and 

streams. 

And yet, tho' crush'd and gored beneath the Gael's avenging 

hand, 
Brave Norreys from disgraceful flight prevents his bleeding 

band ; 
gallant Chief ! in vain you try to turn the battle's scale, 
'Tis not in human power to wrest the victory from the Gael ! 

Tall Segrave, with his dread array of cavalry, sweeps on, 
And crushingly drives down upon the horsemen of Tyrone ; 
He sees their chieftain in the van, majestically proud, 
And radiant, as a fiery star before a tempest-cloud. 

As leaps from Galtees' misty head its lightning-diadem, 
And shoots, with hissing wrath, along the forest's branchy rim, 
So sprang the vengeful giant, with an avalanche's bound, 
Upon the Prince of high Tyrone, with all his chiefs around. 

As rapid as a meteor-flash, O'Neill laid lance in rest, 

The furious chiefs met, hand to hand— their war-steeds, breast 

to breast, 
The steel-plates burst— the steeds roll back, each neighing, as 

he reels, — 
Like rocks against each other hurl'd from two adjoining 

hills. 

With flaming eyes, and cloudy brows, and lance to targe 

opposed, 
Again, in dire and deadly shock, the powerful warriors closed 



96 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Upon each corslet's sounding plate, the buzzing spears are 

broke, 
And horse and man, on either side, swerve backward from 

the stroke. 

As towers the gloomy sea-cliff o'er the angry-foaming brine — 
As on the valley's kingly oak looks down the mountain-pine, 
So glared fierce Segrave on O'Neill, with vengeance in his 

frown, 
And raised his iron-sheathed hand to strike the Chieftain 

down. 

O'Neill, with one fierce tiger-clutch, the raging giant grasp'd, 
With straining arms, like iron-bands around a castle clasp'd ; 
Like waves beneath two striking ships, their stumbling horses 

rock'd, 
While in that dreadful steel-embrace the mighty Chiefs were 

lock'd. 

Both hosts stood gazing at the strife — the roaring of the fray 

Subsided into silence, like a sudden frozen sea — 

While, 'mid that standing wave of death, with sinewy tug and 

strain, 
The grappling champions from their steeds roll headlong to 

the plain. 

As two gigantic mountain-elms, by wintry blasts uptore, 
Come down, with tangled branches, to the earth with crashing 

roar, 
Thus, in each other's death-grips lock'd, the furious warriors 

g° 
Down on the field, with fierce O'Neill above his mighty foe. 

One moment's dreadful struggle — then a deep death-groan 

succeeds — 
O'Neill spring up, and there, unmoved, the prostrate giant 
, bleeds ! 
Ho ! Saxons ! where's your champion now ? his ponderous iron 

mail 
Was but slight proof against the sword and vengeance of the 

Gael! 

dash'd the clans, with bursting cheers that tore the ringing 

heaven, 
And, like a storm-toss'd field of corn, the Saxon host is riven ; 
Before the blazing tide of steel the sinking ranks expire, 
As falls the crackling forest in a sweeping flood of fire ! 

The Saxons fly in bloody rout and direful disarray, 

As when a whirlwind, from the mead, sweeps off the tangled 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 97 

Behind them, like a frantic surge, their foes with axe and 

spear, 
A deluge of destruction roll upon their broken rere. 

There's harping in Dungannon's towers, and high Tyrconnell's 

hall, 
And paeans ring from green Tyrone to regal Donegal ; 
And bonfires blaze, and minstrels sing, in palace, town, and 

vale, 
How Britain's might sunk down before the valour of the Gael. 



MAGGIE BHAN. 
Have ye seen young Maggie Bhan ? 

Sweet as an apple-tree in May — 
She's gone to town, since early dawn, 

To buy her wedding-dress to-day : 
The lily on the bank's green side — 

The wild rose on its thorny throne — 
Hath not the glow of modest pride 

That in her gentle features shone. 

When village maidens bleach'd their clothes 

Upon the sunny hedges green, 
Among the snow-white linen rows 

Young Maggie's were the whitest seen ; 
When at the needle and the reel, 

Her work it was the neatest done ; 
When at the busy spinning-wheel, 

Her flax it was the finest spun. 

Young Donald of the cairn, came down 

To court the maid, but woo'd in vain ; 
To all his words her ear was stone 

That heeds not sunshine, wind or rain. 
Her father press'd — her mother pray'd 

The maiden to receive his suit, 
With glowing cheek and eye, she said, 

" I do not fear to tell the truth ! — 

* ' Young Donald's rich in kine and gold, 

And yet to whom has he been kind ? 
A selfish, sordid, spirit cold, 

Proclaims his barren, wintry mind ! 
The flower can sooner love the blast 

That bites it on its gentle stem, 
Than I shall have my fortunes cast 

With any heartless churl, like him ! 

"To Connor Oge I'll give my hand, 
Nor care for censure, nor applause ; 

His gallant father lost his land, 
For he was true to Ireland's cause ! 



98 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And though he has no gold, or farm, 
An honest, loving heart has he ; 

A noble will, and manly arm, 
Right able to provide for me ! 

" He that loves not his native Land, 

Nor love for God, nor man can feel ; 
But Connor has a heart and hand 

To dare and do for Erin's weal ! 
I would be rich, at his dear side, 

Tho' asking alms from door to door ; 
But to be heartless Donald's bride, 

With all his gold I'd still be poor !" 



TO THE MEMORY OF "UNA." 

The gTeat Irish-American Poetess, horn in the county Antrim, 1841, died 
in Brooklyn, after a short illness, April, 1876, justly regretted by thousands, 
throughout all America, and elsewhere. Her poems teem with rare original 
beauty, piety of a heavenly order, and patriotism of the grandest stamp. 

Thou heaven-gifted spirit of beautiful song ! 
Dearest " Una," farewell ! we'll remember thee long ! 
And the spell of thy genius shall breathe evermore 
Thro Columbia's wide regions and Erin's green shore ! 

Attuned by the glorious Creator alone, 

Thy lyre hath a charm ethereal in its tone ! 

Like the sky -bird that springs from the flower-haloed sod, 

Thro' the sun-clouds of morning to warble for God ! 

Rich as spring buds refreshed by the dawn's virgin dew, 
Thy blossoms of soul into loveliness grew ! 
Bright, beauteous and brief was thy life's summer day, 
While thy mind, like a rose, gave its sweetness away ! 

Heaven call'd thee, loved " Una !" to join its sweet band, 
And the harp of the Lord is now touch'd by thy hand ! 
Of thy soul's seraph melody earth hath its share, 
And immortal as Nature thy praise shall be there ! 



THE EVICTED PEASANT, 

Midnight raves in gloomy anger — hoarse and rough the ice- 
winds blow — 

And the bleak face of the darkness wears a streaming veil of 
snow ; 

But our hearth is cold and empty, and our little hut is bare, 

And, God ! my gentle Eily lies in famine-fever there ! 

Come, Father — oh ! come quickly— with the Sacrament and 
prayer, 

My stricken angel's dying, and you have no time to spare ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 99 

God look upon my sorrow ! Holy Saviour, dear ! I pray, 
Recall — recall thy dread decree — or take us both away ! 

The Priest obey'd the summons, and has flung his garment on, 
And away thro' drift and darkness with the peasant he has 

gone ; 
The snow fell densely round them, silent, desolate, sublime, 
Like a white pall flung by Mercy o'er a world black with 

crime ! 
Beside the dismal highway 'rose a heap of straw and mud, 
That, like a thing of blackness, on the winter-carpet stood ; 
There the mournful peasant enter 'd, with the muffled Priest 

behind, 
Into the dreary chamber where the stricken one reclined. 

A rush-light's feeble flicker by a lowly pallet shone, 
Like a solitary moonbeam thro' a churchyard shadow thrown, 
And its misty gleam show'd nothing to the gazer's eye at all, 
Save the bleeding Saviour's image, o'er the sick one, on the 

wall! 
"Eily ! darling, here's the Priest !" the shivering husband 

said, 
As with a stealing footstep, he approach'd the wretched bed : 
" Are you sleeping ? — oh ! my dear one !" — but she breathed no 

reply, 
And the dark fringe show'd no motion o'er the dead beam of 

her eye. 

And her face was like the shadow of the midnight moon's 

eclipse, 
For the snow of death had fallen on the rose-bloom of her 

lips; 
And the soul that lent the spring-beam of its brightness to 

those eyes, 
Had taken back its radiance to its Maker in the skies. 
* Eily, love ! dear ! don't you hear me ?" and he softly laid 

his hand 
Where her rich hair's sleeping billow edged her forehead's 

waxen strand ; 
But its touch of freezing chillness to his fever'd pulses told 
That the life-flame of her spirit was extinguish'd in its mould. 

Oh ! he tost his arms wildly — and a shriek of horror burst, 
As if life and death were wrestling in his tenement of dust ! 
And he flung his arms round her, and his strong cry of despair 
Seem'd to follow her free spirit thro' the broad plains of the 

air. 
''Eily! Eily ! did you leave me? Oh ! what did the Angels 

say 
In my absence — in my absence, when you stole from me, 

away ? 



100 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Ah ! if all the world had left me, I would not fret nor care, 
While the sunlight of your loving eyes was shining near me 
there ! 

Sure our hearts for one another, with the flame of love were 

bright, 
And the wintry cloud of poverty could never quench its light ; 
Thy pure image, like a glory, on my spirit's eye was cast, 
Oh ! I worshipp'd and I loved you, and you're gone from me 

at last ! 
The night is wild and stormy — 'tis too cold for you to go, 
But you care not for the tempest, with its flying robe of snow — 
Nor the wind, nor drift, nor darkness could harm your spirit's 

wings, 
As they flash'd o'er midnight's cloud-throne up to heaven's 

sunny springs ! 

Oh ! our bridal day was splendid, as the sun-zoned summer's 

skies, 
And your beauty made the world look like heaven to my eyes ! 
While your bosom's snow was heaving, with its pulses' joyful 

play, 
Like a bough of milk-white blossoms in the honied breath of 

May ! 
As we linger'd by the wild Lake — we shall linger there no 

more — 
Like its music-breathing waters, our hearts ran, gushing o'er, 
With the sunshine of the present, while the gloomy future 

lay, 
Like a cloud-built rainbow palace raised, and painted with a 

ray. 

How I pull'd the red-lipp'd wild-flowers ! how I flung them on 
your breast ! 

Like May eve's sunny roses in the bosom of the West — 

While your sweet laugh, thro' the meadow, like an air-harp's 
song, was thrown, 

The echoes, from each other, seem'd to snatch its golden tone : 

And we rested on the moss-bank where the yellow beams lay 
bright, 

And your wild, glad eyes were dancing, like two fairy springs 
of light; 

And the Lake's gold curls before us, in bright rings of splen- 
dour run, 

Like a shower of fire-gems shaken from the forehead of the 
sun. 

Oh ! you wove a zone of magic round my spirit's pinion, then, 
On the bright lake's green-fring'd border,— -now I think we're 
there again ; 



mnp 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 101 

And I feel your sweet eyes on me, like the blessed rays that 
fall 

On the captive's vision'd freedom in his dreary prison hall ; 

And your hair streams, like a cloud-wreath, when the moun- 
tain's snow-gemm'd peak 

Steals a kiss of flashing glory from the morning's brilliant 
cheek ; 

And your glances — like a star-gush, 'mid the darkness of the 
Pole — 

Shoot their radiant points of beauty thro' the bosom of my 
soul ! 

But the honey of our happiness was changed to bitter gall, 
And 'twas not the will of God, love ! sure 'twas man that did 

it all ! 
Tho' you struggled to be cheerful, well I knew your heart was 

chill'd, 
Like a gentle, little blossom by a poison-vapour kill'd ! 
I made you a sweet drink, love, your burning lips to wet, 
But you went away without it, and 'tis here untasted yet ; 
For the Angels had prepared for you a drink of joy, divine, 
And since your soul has tasted it, you do not care for mine ! 

Oh ! our little home was happy as the linnet's peaceful nest, 
'Till our harvest-crops were blighted, and the Agent took the 

rest; 
And he turn'd us out to perish, in the winter of the year, 
But a neighbour gave us shelter in this wretched cabin here ! 
The Parish Priest advised us for the poorhouse to depart, 
Where my Eily and my children would be torn from my heart ; 
Let him tell the guilty Agent's haughty lady to go there, 
Sure my Eily was as tender and as virtuous and fair ! 

I went among the farmers, who still held struggling on, 

Like pale leaves clinging to the boughs when all the rest are 

gone ; 
But I couldn't find employment — nor the wages of a day — 
To keep famine from my darling and our little ones away ! 
The wily Saxon preacher came to tempt us in our need, 
And he offer'd bread and money if we'd learn his foreign creed ; 
But Eily said — tho' famine's wolf was eating at her frame, 
" God suffer 'd more,— we'll die before we traffic on His Name !" 

My fair-hair'd angel-daughter and her cherub-brother died, 
And they lay, like two crush'd lilies, in their death-sleep side 

by side ! 
How my Eily emptied o'er them the blue fountain of her eyes, 
Like the showery cloud of morning softly melting in the skies! 
I laid their slender bodies in the consecrated sod, 
But their souls, like two white cygnets, flew together up to 

God : 



102 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And He sent them back, all shining from the grandeur of His 

Throne, 
To bring their mother with them, and she's gone — and I'm 

alone ! 

Eily ! Eily ! oh, look on me from the palace of the sky ! 
You said you loved me fondly, and you never told a lie ; 
And you often said, you would not rest contented anywhere, 
Even in the bowers of Heaven, were I not with you there ! 
And can you now sit happy in the presence of the Lord, 
And forget me here ? oh, no ! oh, no ! — you never broke your 

word ! 
I feel the golden tie of love that link'd us, heart to heart, 
Has fasten'd on our spirits, and will never let them part ! 

My soul drank rays of beauty from the summer of your eyes, 
As the river takes from heaven its resplendent aerial dyes ; — 
But their fount of beams are darken'd in the heaven of your 

face, 
Like two quenched stars that light no more the silent halls of 

space ! 
Yet I know that you are waiting, in a rainbow- cloud above, 
With the sunburst of God's brightness on your holy brow of 

love — 
Waiting — watching for my coming — I'll be with you soon, 

aztore ! 
Where the Famine or the Agent shall not touch us evermore ! 

THE WINDING SUIR. 

Among those hills, and in those fields, 

I wandered with my lover last ; 
The morning flowers, all wet with showers, 

Were bending in the early blast. — 
'Twas on those banks, 'mid snowy ranks 

Of daises steep'd in dew-gems pure ; 
With many a tear, and sigh sincere, 

We parted by the winding Suir ! 

The linnet sung the thorns among, 

The haw-tree flower'd in yon green dell ; 
Along the woods the gold-fring'd clouds 

Hung o'er the river s amber swell : 
The east wind chased the white-wing'd mist 

Slow o'er the primrose-spangled moor, 
And all look'd gay that tearful day 

"We parted by the winding Suir ! 

One burning kiss — one sweet embrace — 

Seal'd our last farewell on the shore ! 
I sat beside the careless tide, 

And wept until my heart grew sore ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 103 

In Ireland's cause, the Saxon laws 

Have banish' d him and left me poor ; 
Oh ! had he died in manhood's pride 

For Ireland, by the winding Suir ! 

Three times that day has pass'd away 

Upon the year-bound wheels of Time ; 
And summer's sun three times shone on 

Yon flower-clad banks in vernal prime ; 
With grief- worn face, I mark the place 

We parted from my cottage door ; 
Ah ! does he now forget the vow 

He gave me by the winding Suir ? 

When midnight swings its starry wings 

Along the cold blue face of heaven, 
While others sleep, I sigh and weep, 

For all my heart to him is given ! 
In fancy's dream again I seem 

To roam the hill and lonely moor, 
Where last he press'd and fondly kiss'd 

His Mary by the winding Suir ! 



THE ANATHEMA OF OBHINN, THE BANSHEE. 

Donogh O'Brien, commonly called the great Earl of Thomond, brought 
reinforcements, in conjunction with the Anglo-Irish and Catholic Earl of 
Clanrickarde, to aid Lord Mountjoy against O'Neill and O'Donnell, at the 
battle of Kinsale, and materially assisted the English to overthrow the in- 
dependence of their country. 

Clanrickarde slew twenty of the Irish with his own hand, and cried aloud 
to spare no " rebels." Carew says, " that no man did bloody his sword 
more than his lordship that day." 

On the return of O'Brien to his earldom, after the defeat of the Northern 
Chieftains, he is supposed to have been met by Obhinn, the ancient family 
spirit, or Banshee of his ancestors, and she fiercely cursed and denounced 
him for his apostasy to Ireland ; and prophesied the fall of his new title, 
and the extinction of his line. 

From the clouds of the hill, and the gloom of the night, 
Who is she that appears like the wintry-moon, white ? 
The cold dew is gleaming, like beads, on her hair, 
And she wrings her gaunt hands, with a shriek of despair ! 
Look, Earl ! the Spectre stands full in thy path, 
And her angry face beareth a mission of wrath ; 
There's a mist round her form that's awful to see, 
And her eyes, like blue wild-fire, are turned upon thee ! 

The Earl rein'd in his black war-horse, and gazed, 
With his sword turned down, and his visor upraised ; 
And he saw standing out on a cliff, in his way, 
The dismal, White Woman of lonely Craiglea. 
One hand she outstretch'd, like a skeleton bough, 
And one was close-press'd to her cold, stony brow ; 
While her lips breathed curses that awfully fell, 
On his spirit and brain, like the sentence of hell. 



104 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

* ' The Mighty of Erin is laid on the earth, 

And her war-lions, bleeding, have fled to the North : 

For thou, curst apostate ! hast redden'd thy steel 

With the glorious heart's blood of the clans of O'Neill ! 

May the rank steam of death from that red slaughter field 

Where you taught the proud Chieftains of Ulster to yield, 

Be shaped to a scourge by the finger Divine, 

To wound, waste and wither the slaves of thy line ! 

" Chiefs of Kincora ! immortal in song ! 
Whose arms flash'd death 'mid the fierce battle tjirong, 
With scorn, look down from your high dwelling-place, 
On the slave-making recreant who sprang from your race ! 
In their grandeur and might, did those chiefs ever dream 
That their offspring would cover their glory with shame ? 
Did they from their shores the grim sea-robbers chase, 
For their sons to be servants to robbers more base ? 



"Oh, red-handed serf of the fierce Calladi Rue !* 

In the house of her pride, like an upas, you grew, 

Where she poisoned your spirit, your blood and your breath, 

To bring to your country destruction and death ! 

Fly to the Red Hag of the Sassenach land, 

With Erin's heart's-blood smelling fresh on thy hand ; 

And tell her she's queen, 'mid the damned and the dead, 

Of your island, with ashes and carcasses spread ! f 

"May the blood whkh your traitor-sword drank at Kinsale, 
When you scattered\lie spearsmen of princely O'Neill, 
In a deadly cloud rise and hang over your halls ! 
And rain down a curse that shall crumble their walls ! 
Ghosts shriek your base deeds through the red battle-plain, 
And Heaven cries, " Where is thy brother ? Cain !" 
Black Donogh, the murderer ! hold up your hand ! 
Come forward, and answer God's awful demand ! 

" Let Clanrickarde, the homicide, shout o'er the dead, 
For his black soul is drunk with the blood-rain he shed ; 
Let him kneel at the altar, unwashed and unshod, 
A monster of crime in the temple of God ! 
'Twere a lie if his fierce Norman spirit could feel 
Reluctance to slaughter or plunder the Gael ; 
'Tis his trade and his nature such evil to do, 
But he's not a base, renegade hirling, like you ! 



• fallnch Rue, i.e., Red Hag, was a popular epithet applied by the Irish 
to Queen Elizabeth. 

t Lord Mountj oy boasted that he made the Queen a present of Ireland, 
all carcasses and ashes. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOXT). 105 

" Ah, where is O'Donnell ? that valour-soul'd man ! 
The high guardian-god of his country and clan ! 
Oh, 'tis well for your coronet, your house, and your head, 
That the strong, fiery hand of his vengeance is dead ! * 
Do you know the dread warrior who twice flung his bands 
Into Thomond's green bosom, and stripp'd your broad lands ? 
Oh, my soul ! had he lived ! your late victory's cry 
Would turn into death-groans for you, and Mount joy ! 

" The glorious one died of his mighty heart's grief, 
And Erin's last hope has expired with the Chief ! 
But, oh, Dar a Chriesta ! he oftentimes gave, 
A legion of Saxons, cleft heads and a grave ! 
O'Neill, to the gloom of his mountains retires, 
He sold not his honour, he shamed not his sires : 
But the bones of your forefathers groan in their graves, 
For your treason to Erin ! you maker of slaves ! 

* ' Perdition will grasp the low heirs of thy line, 

And the death-curse of freedom brand all that is thine ! 

Till its vengeance shall leave not a stone of thy walls, 

Nor a fire on thy hearth, nor a slave in thy halls ! 

Eternal contempt on the day you went forth, 

With the Saxon, to crush the Red Hand of the North ! 

Hark ! the cry of your country rings up from her tomb ; 

' Assassin of Erin ! Lord Thomond, go home !' 

" Go home, you apostate ! and drink your red wine ! 
May the odour of corpses.be round where you dine ! 
And the tears of gaunt widows mi* black in your bowl, 
And the cry of starved orphans strike hard at your soul ! 
Go home — may the charnal pits, gory and deep — 
Where your countrymen fester — bring balm to your sleep ! 
May your soul feast on visions of famine and flames, 
And the death-shriek of Erin be heard in your dreams !" 



ROSROEf— A POEM PICTURE— 
(Autumn, 1874.) 

The autumn is dark on the hills of Rosroe, 
And its plains are fast losing their rich summer-glow ; 
While I stand gazing up from the Lake's reedy shore, 
On the towers, where the brave shall assemble no more. 

• The renowned Red Hugh O'Donnell embarked for Spain, immediately- 
after the battle of Kinsale, to solicit King Philip for new reinforcements to 
continue the war against the English in Ireland. But, ere any material 
help could be organised, he died of a broken heart, on account of the 
miseries of his native land. He bore deadly wrath against the O'Briens, 
for their adhesion to the invaders. Actuated by this feeling he twice over- 
ran Thomond and plundered it, not leaving a head of cattle from Coroum- 
roe to Loophead. 

+ A beautiful locality, three miles north of Bunratty, watered by a mag- 
nificent lake, upon whose shore stand the remains of a strong castle built by 



106 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 

There are wild legends told of those old, ruined halls, 
With the gray veil of ages surrounding their walls, 
Whose ponderous rocks, sword and cannon defied, 
When the strength of the mighty in combat was tried. 

Proud race of the Brave ! not a record remains 
Of the strong-handed sway which you held on those plains 
Save yon war-broken ramparts, all mossy with time, 
That frown in wreck'd grandeur, cold, dark, and sublime ! 

Your high crest of honour has sunk to the dust ! 

The steel of your glory has perished in rust ! 

The mist of oblivion is over your graves, 

And your princedom is mark'd with the footsteps of slaves ! 

The tall fern trembles on brown Craig-an-oir,* 
Once steeped in the wave of the war-giants' gore ; 
When the lightning of God from a fire-cloud blazed down, 
And blasted the sight of the tyrant-chief Conn ! 

Through the dark cloud of ages I fling my soul back 
To paint the fierce scene of that dread battle- wreck ; 
The sun's in the zenith — the clans and their lords 
Are cleaving each other, with axes and swords ! 

Like the sounding of surges, the battle-shouts swell, 
And the war- weapons clash, like a mighty death -knell ; 
Here and there, thro' the mist, on the Craig's redden'd height, 
Now breaks, and now blends the deep mass of the fight. 

When the wind blows the tiist-veil aside from the fray, 
One broad flame of steel flashes out on the day ; ^ 
And round the wild plain might be widely descried, 
Where the onslaught had left the red mark of its tide. 

Near yon gory broom-tuft a chief seems to rest, 
With the fangs of a dart fastened deep in his breast ; 
He calls to his clan as it slowly retires, 
And he struggles to rise, but falls back and expires. 

Faster and deeper, each moment succeeds, 
The hoarse cry of men and the neigh of gored steeds ; 
O'er the cliff, with mad yellings of vengeance and woe, 
The wounded are dash'd in the red surge below. 

Fineen Dhu MacNamara, a.d. 1291. It was the second fortress raised in 
Thomond, after the Norman castle of Bunratty, and many a stern siege have 
its stubborn walls withstood. The lake was once full of red trout, but that 
fine species of fish has entirely disappeared from its waters. 

* Craig-an-oir, i.e., Golden Crag, is an extensive flat-headed cliff at the 
eastern wing of the lake. On the plain of this crag was fought a fierce 
battle between the two sons of Fineen Dhu, Conn and Brian MacNamara. 
Conn was struck blind by lightning, at the moment of victory. Tradition 
states that the cause of the quarrel, between the brothers was Mora, the beau- 
tiful daughter of a neighbouring chief, Donagh MacNamara of Ard Cuilen 
Castle. She was betrothed to Brian, but Conn forcibly abducted her. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. ]07 

Some struggle, in vain, with the grasp of the flood, 
While the monstrous lake-eels are drinking their blood ; 
They scourge the wild waves in red foam to the shore, 
And sink down to their cold depths, to struggle no more. 

As the wrathful Conn marshall'd his troops into line, 
To charge on the clans of his brave brother Brian, 
A black thunder-cloud gather'd quick in the sky, 
And glared on the hosts, like a demon's dark eye. 

From the lake's gloomy bosom the cry of the gale 
Swept round the gray towers, like a funeral wail ! 
And the clans, thro' the darkness, at distance, were seen, 
Like two fire-blacken'd groves, with a red space between. 

A blue wave of lightning shot over the field, 
And danced, in broad circles, on helmet and shield ; 
O'er the wings of the battle its flame-banner spread, 
And the mighty Conn fell, with his eyesight struck dead ! 

Like the laugh of a giant, the thunder boom'd out, 
As the clans on each other dash'd mad, with a shout ; 
But Brian's clan vanish'd, like smoke in the wind, 
While Conn to the Castle was borne, stone-blind ! 

* * *• * * ■* * 

No more shall your proud banners flash in the van 
Of your iron tribes, combating, clan against clan ; 
'Twas your merciless discords and ambitious sway 
Gave strength to the Saxon to sweepfye away ! 

I hear in the murmuring reeds by the wave, 
The sigh of the harps that once sung to the brave ; * 
For the ghosts of weird bards who were here long ^go, 
Still sing in the dark mist of lonely Rosroe ! 

In the bosom of night when the white moonbeams shine, 
Like snow, on the cairn of haunted Knoc Brien ;* 
Wild laughter, commingling with music's weird thrill, 
Is heard on the crest of that dark, fairy hill ! 

The spectre-mists swim round its gloom-circled height, 
Like the spirits that walk the brown shadows of night ; 
There the grave of the murder'd chief, Brian, is shown, 
With the wild mountain fern, and broom-bush o'ergrown, 

* After the fight of Craig-an-oir, the defeated Brian fled to France where 
he remained for nine years. He grew home-sick, and returned to Rosroe, 
where he employed mediators to become reconciled to his brother Conn, 
who seemingly felt rejoiced to meet Brian, and was at once conducted to a 
hill where Brian was waiting, but while pretending to embrace his brother, 
the treacherous Conn drove his short sword through Brian's body. He was 
buried where he fell, and a cairn was raised over his remains, which indi- 
cates his grave to this day. The country people gave the hill the significant 
name of Knoc Brian. It is one mile south of the Castle. 



108 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TITOMOND. 

The eve-sun is steeping in crimson the west, 
And the lake folds the sky's golden wreaths to its breast ; 
While the scream of the gaunt crane from lone Lan-na-gour,* 
Awakes the sad echoes of wild Craig-an-oir. 

The last dim rays faint on the wood's yellow stain, 
And the dew-mist is weaving white rings on the plain ; 
And the tower 'mid the gath'ring gloom seems to weep, 
As it looks at its desolate shade in the deep ! 

Each proud hill that seems a romance of the sky, 
Has lost from its forehead each sun-purpled dye ; 
Deep shadows have veil'd the lake's crystal below, — 
Farewell to thy dark beauty, lonely Rosroe ! 



THE SPIRIT OF MOROGH, SON OF BRIAN. 

(a bardic vision.) 

A spirit came to my midnight dream, 

And a terrific glory was o'er him ; 
And my blood was chill'd, and my soul was fill'd 

With wonder and awe, before him. 
Upon his head was the gloom of the Dead, 

And a meteor-diadem crown'd it, 
As he stood dark and still, like a wintry hill, 

With the storm-clouds slumbering round it. 

The solemn light of a freezing night, 

From his ghostly eyes seem'd streaming, 
As they wink'd in the space of his waxen face, 

Like stars thro' a rain-mist gleaming ; 
And his milk-white brow was like desert snow, 

When the moon, thro' the shades that enwreath her, 
Is seen to sail, on her silver keel, 

Thro' the dim, blue realm of ether. 

Methought I stood by a deep, dark flood, 

When this living shadow found me ; 
And the Last Day's doom seem'd hid in the gloom 

That pall'd all Nature around me. 
"Oh, Spirit!" I cried, "whence art thou come? — 

What mission to me has convey'd thee ? — 
Answer, thou awful thing of the tomb ! 

In the name of the God that made thee ! — 

* Lan-na-gour, or Goat's Island, is a beautiful woody solitude on the 
north-eastern side of the lake. On my last visit to Rosroe I was sorry to 
see the marks of modern Vandalism on the venerable walls of the Castle. 
The finely cut stonework of the windows and doorways was torn away to 
suit the ignoble purpose of some neighbouring Goth. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 109 

" What of Eternity ?— Angel or Fiend ! 

Or where is the place of thy dwelling ? 
'Mid the realms of night, or the thrones of light 

Where the songs of the happy are swelling ? 
Say, hadst thou birth on this doleful earth, 

The weakness of flesh to inherit ? 
Wert thou shaped out from the breath of God's mouth 

A mighty and bodiless spirit ? " 

The Phantom bow'd, like a sunset-cloud 

From the Galtees' peak descending, 
To the dreary glen, or the sombre fen, 

Its dusky bosom bending : 
And, by degrees, with a graceful ease, 

The manliest aspect form'd 
That e'er the design of the mind Divine, 

With His image impress'd and warm'd. 

The dismal shade of the gloomy dead 

Roll'd off from his forehead of whiteness, 
As mists, one by one, melt away from the sun, 

In the dazzling walk of its brightness ; 
And his high soul shone, on a burning throne, 

In his eyes' large orbs resplendent ; 
And he look'd in the prime of manhood sublime, 

Of a hundred kings the descendant. 

His cheek wore the dye of a roseate sky, 

When the sun to his rest is retiring, 
With the smile of his love, in red glory above, 

On the bosom of heaven expiring. 
And his lips' bright glow was like berries that blow 

In the midsummer glen's shadow hazy ; 
Or the crimson tinge on the snow-rimm'd fringe . 

Of April's woodland daisy. 

His pine-like height, and arms of might, 

Delighted and awed the beholder ; 
And his rich locks fell, in a golden swell, 

On the marble throne of his shoulder. 
I spoke again, " Oh ! prince of men ! 

Art thou Nial, or Cormac the splendid ? 
Or Eogain More, the renown'd of yore, 

From Heber the royal descended ? " 

Then he silence broke, anck proudly spoke, 

With flowery and full repleteness ; 
And each accent rung, from his Gaelic tongue, 

Like the harp-wire's melting sweetness. 
" Oh ! child of song ! I am Morogh the Strong, 

Son of Brian, the Chief of the Leaders, 
Who built the high fame of his glory-crown'd name 

On the ruin of Erin's Invaders ! " 



HO LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

My bosom glow'd, and my eyes o'erflow'd, 

With the joy of my wrapt soul burning, 
Like the silent shower of the gray dawn hour, ' 

Weeping welcome to day's returning ; 
And I grasp' d his hand — " Oh ! Star of our Land ! 

Illustrious Prince of the peerless 
Sons of Clan Tail, the flower of the Gael ! 

The noble, the free, and the fearless ! 

"Is my hand in the clasp of that dreadful grasp 

Which strangled the monsters of slavery ? 
And made iron hosts reel from the sweep of thy steel, 

In the red war-path of thy bravery ? 
Thou mighty lord of the axe and sword ! 

Why sleepeth thy chivalrous daring, 
When thy strong right hand and conquering brand 

Are so bitterly needed in Erin?" 

He sigh'd and wept, and the dim tear crept 

Thro' the fringe of his sable lashes, 
As the wintry rill, 'mid the shades of the hill, 

In the mournful moonbeam flashes ; 
And his glist'ning eyes seem'd like warm May skies, 

Glowing out through a passing shower 
On the sunny mist that, with silver lips, kiss'd 

The green tuft that cradles the flower. 

But he flung off the tear, with indignant air, 

And his face into grandeur brighten' d ; 
And the warlike blaze of his eagle-gaze, 

Like a stormy meteor, lighten'd ; 
He drew his blade from its gloomy sheath, 

And its light, like a fire-zone, bound him ; 
While he shook its gleam, with a wing of flame, 

' Thro the melting darkness around him. 

Then he backward roll'd the shadowy fold, 

Of the war-cloak that cover' d his form ; 
And I saw, gaping wide, in his princely side, 

A wound that bled deeply and warm. 
" Our blood was shed for your land ! " he said, 

And our spirits shall not forsake her, 
'Till her Angel proud, in a blood-red cloud, 

With a trumpet-blast shall awake her !" 

The vision changed, and methought I ranged 

Where trees, in their summer charms, 
Sung a sweet May-hymn, by a lake's blue rim, 

Entwined in each other's arms ; 
And the hills around look'd as cloud-kings crown'd 

And the sun sent his beams to love them, 
With flowery vests on their emerald breasts, 

And the bright sky laughing above them. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. Ill 

And, again at my side, by that lake's calm tide, 

Stood the Phantom of grandeur olden, 
And the living rays of former days, 

Shone "round in a halo golden : 
But the fiery light of his flashing sight 

Was quench'd in a mist of sorrow, 
As he said, with an air of sullen despair, 

"Behold the House of Kinkora! " 

I turn'd where the surge besilver'd the verge 

Of the shore, with its myriad flowers, 
And regal and high, 'gainst the arching sky, 

Hose the heads of a hundred towers ; 
Whilst to and fro, in the halls below, 

Kings, Ollamhs and Bards were dining. 
With queenly girls whose gem-starr'd curls 

And robes were as sunbeams shining. 

And the breathing wires of a thousand lyres 

In a warrior anthem blended, 
Sweet, as if May touch'd each sunny ray 

Into song, in her flower-palace splendid ; 
And a soul-laughing joy flash'd in every eye, 

And each brow with a glory was lighted, 
As if God made peace with Man's erring race, 

And Heaven and Earth were united. 

Again I look'd round, but the dark towers frown'd, 

In desolate grandeur, lonely ; 
And nothing was there but a ruin bare, 

That shelter d the night bird only ; 
The naked walls of the empty halls 

Were in mournful silence weeping, 
And where monarchs sate in the room of state 

The spirit of gloom was sleeping. 

The wandering bee, with his minstrelsy, 

The red wall-flower was wooing, 
And the dark-green moss spread its veil across 

The face of the hoary ruin ; 
Rank weeds grew tall on the gray-headed wall, 

With summer flies round them flitting ; 
And the sad owl moan'd in the banquet-hall 

Where kings were so lately sitting. 

I turn'd, with a sigh, to the Chief that stood by, 

And said, * ' Mighty Prince of Temora ! 
What makes this change, so sudden and strange, 

In Brian's grand house of Kinkora ? 
I'd weep all day o'er the sad decay 

Of that royal pile, so hoary, 
That, for ages long, nursed valour and song, 

And cradled a Nation's glory ! " 



112 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Said the spectral Chief, in a tone of grief — 

" That dwelling of desolation, 
Is a doleful trait of the ruinous fate 

Which attends our divided Nation ! 
Like birds of prey, in yon palace gray, 

The strangers alone shall enjoy her, 
While her sons the worst of her foes, accurst, 

Lift their traitorous hands to destroy her ! 

"The last fate of seven, for Erin — in heaven, ' 

With blood has been written, 'Forsaken!' 
And the gloomy record, in the hand of the Lord, 

O'er the heads of the Nations was shaken ! 
And a Giant shall come, with a sword of doom, 

From the waves of the West to save her ; 
Nor Earth, at that hour, nor Hell shall have power 

To save from his wrath the Enslaver! " 

He ceased, and anon, the man was gone 

Again to his spiritual form, 
And the meteor red, appear' d on his head, 

Like a star o'er the cloud of a storm ; 
And a churchyard gloom was seen to loom, 

In his midnight features, o'er me, 
As he rose on high, in the face of the sky, 

A dark mist-column before me. 

I look'd — and once more hill, stream, and shore, 

With a midnight pall were cover' d, 
And an ink-black cloud, like a wizard's shroud, 

O'er the frowning heavens hover' d ; 
And the darken'd face of ethereal space 

Ope'd its starry eyes, and mourn'd, 
As that spectral thing, on the night's dim wing, 

To its limitless region return'd. 



LOVELY MARYANNE. 

Oh! bear me back to Shannon's banks, and Limerick's battle- 
towers, 
Where first I wooed my Maryanne, among the sunny flowers ; 
Where Beauty braved Oppression's steel, and Freedom led 

her on, 
'Twas there I told my first love-tale, and won my Maryanne. 
Oh, lovely Maryanne! my gentle, little swan! 
Where'er I be, 
I'll dream of thee, 
'Till life's last pulse is gone! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 113 

There are some glowing eyes that leave their living rays 

behind 
On memory's beaming mirror in the palace of the mind; 
Go where I will, those rays of love can never cease to shine — 
Oh, Maryanne! the spirit of their magic light is thine! 

Lovely Maryanne! my gentle, little swan! &c. &c. 

And we have stray 'd on Shannon's banks, by moonlight white 

and wide, 
Where Sarsfield broke the Saxon ranks by Shannon's lordly 

tide; 
And we have sung our home-songs there, and talk'd of glories 

gone, 
And warm with love, and wild with joy, I kiss'd my Maryanne. 
Lovely Maryanne! my gentle, little swan! &c. &c. 

And we have play'd on Shannon's banks when morning's dewy 

hand 
Unveil'd the rosy world of flowers that gemm'd the glistening 

strand — 
The waves, like Freedom's flashing swords, were glancing in 

the sun, 
Bright as your own blue, loving eyes, my radiant Maryanne ! 
Lovely Maryanne! my gentle, little swan! &c. &c. 

By yonder dashing waterfall that brightly leaps along, 
With a whirling plume of silver and a ringing battle-song, 
There often have we stole unseen, and sat, and talk'd of love, 
With a daisy-carpet 'neath us, and a crystal roof above. 

Lovely Maryanne ! my gentle, little swan! &c, &c, 

My girl, I'll soon go back to you, and Limerick's battle-towers, 
And Shannon's banks, for ever green and rich with golden 

flowers ! 
I'd give the brightest pleasure that e'er charm'd the heart of 

man, 
For one sweet walk on those wild banks, with you, my 
Maryanne ! 

Lovely Maryanne! my gentle, little swan! 
Where'er I be, 
I'll dream of thee, 
'Till life's last pulse is gone! 



CATHOL MAC CARAGH, 

Blest be your heart of love ! Cathol Mac Caragh! 
1 Bright be the sky above Cathol Mac Caragh! 
In golden Dalcas, from Loch Doon to Loch Deargh, 
There breathes not a spirit, like Cathol Mac Caragh! 



114 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Behold! where o'er Thomond the sunny mists fly, 
And round the blue heads of her kingly hills lie! 
There dwelt your forefathers, as regal and proud 
As the wild eagles nurst by the storm and the cloud. 
O'Hehir, O'Loughlin, O'Dea, Mac-Con-Mara, 
O'Neill and O'Kennedy— flowers of Temora ! 
O'Donnell, O'Callaghan, Mac Clanchy the mighty, 
O'Considine proud, and O'Hogain the flighty! 
Fierce war-hawks of slaughter, whose red axes tore 
Thro' the dark battle-ridge on the plain of Moinmor; * 
Where, mangled and gash'd with the death-wounds of honor, 
They slew the strong thousands of Torlogh O'Connor. 

How fierce was their cheer, with the Bara Boo blended, 
When, like whirlwinds of fire, from their hills they descended ! 
With their long battle-sparths flashing terror before them, 
And the bright Sun-burst blazing in majesty o'er them :— 
Oh ! to see them, when marching, like oak-forests shaken 
On the dark wintry mountains, when wild gusts awaken ; 
And their brown eagle-plumes, by the fitful breeze waven, 
Seemed rising to brush the cloud-garments of heaven. 
Fierce, valour-steel'd clans by O'Brien commanded — 
When moving to combat, like storm-fiends banded ; 
How weak were the ramparts of castle or barrack, 
When assail'd by those brave sires of Cathol Mac Caragh? 

On Dy serfs red field where grim war's crimson rain, 
From a thousand brave bosoms, empurpled the plain ; 
The Dalcassian sires of Mac Caragh were there, 
Fierce-cleaving the squadrons of Richard De Clare + 

* The celebrated plain of Moinmor, i.e., great bog, is in the parish of 
Emly. The names of the principal chiefs slain there, are, according to the 
Annalists, viz., Three of the O'Briens, two of the O'Kennedys, eight of the 
O'Deas, with their principal chief, nine of the 0' Shannons, five of the 
O'Quins, six of the O'Gradys, twenty-f our of the O'Hogans, four of the 
O'Hehirs, two of the O'Lynches, four of the O'Neills Buidhe or yellow, five 
of the O'Hearns, nine of the Mac Inerneys, six of the O'Hallorans, eleven 
of the O'Kcarneys, seven of the MacConmaras, six of the O'Meanys, three 
of the O'Hartagans, four of the O'Malleys, five of the O'Liddys, five of the 
O'Halys, eight of the O'Meehans; five of the O'Slatterys, four of the 
O'Moloneys, two of the O'Lonergans, four of the MacMahons, with great 
numbers of good and brave men besides them. 

All those, whose names are mentioned, were prime commanders and 
captains of septs of the Dalcassian race who fell, fighting under the banner 
of King Torlogmore O'Brien, on the fatal field of Moinmor. 
See a description of the Battle, at page 68. 

+ Richard De Clare, brother of Thomas, the founder of Bunratty Castle, 
led a great army into Thomond, to subdue the turbulent Dalgais and take 
their territories. He marched as far as Dysert O'Dea, in Burren, where 
lie was met by the O'Briens, the O'Deas, and MacNamaras, with their 
tributary clans, and a furious battle was fought, in which De Clare and his 
kinsmen were slain, and his whole army defeated, with dreadful slaughter. 
And the fugitive Normans were chased from Burren to the walls of Bun- 
ratty, where Lady De Clare, hearing of the death of her lord and his friencfiL 
set the Castle on fire and retreated precipitately to England. Since that 
day, a De Clare never set foot on the soil of Thomond.— Historical Mewflt 
of the O'Briens. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 115 

From Burren's white crags to Bunratty's strong towers 
Fled, broken and bleeding, the proud Norman powers ; 
But no flight could secure, nor no castle could save them 
From the doom which Clan Tail's mighty war-axes gave them. 
Their Bards and their Brehons — their lordly possessions — 
Their Seanachies and Banshees, and splendid traditions ; 
The revel, the chase, and the plentiful hall 
Where free hospitality smiled upon all, 
Are gone — who replaced them? A swinish-soul'd race, 
To the honour of manhood a curse and disgrace ; 
The low-minded miser, the knave and the clod, — 
Counterfeiting man's state and the image of God. 

Yes, Cathol ! your Irish heart swells and throbs high, 
When this scene of past grandeur rolls back on your eye ; 
But the tears and the shame of the present dark day, 
Blot the image of glory and sweep it away ! 
See the baseness that crawls — the corruption that festers 
In the old, hallowed soil of your lordly ancestors ; 
Weak fawns have crept into the den of the lion, 
And tinsel serfs dwell in the kingdom of Brian! 

Woe is me ! who inherits the rich land of Canaan ? 

Cromwell's renegade robbers, the Puritan spawn ! 

And degenerate Celts — with cold bosoms of stone — 

Are as worthless, as cruel and base-hearted grown ! 

The bold erect spirit of honour is dead, 

And knavery prospers and sways in its stead. — 

From the court to the hut — from the church to the state — 

Mammon's vot'ries and slaves are the only things great. 

Let panderers crouch at the foreigner's throne, 

But your sires have no reason to blush for their son ! 

You are worthy their pride, and 'tis glory to me 

To see their high spirit rekindled in thee ! 

Oh ! pure-hearted Celt ! of repute without stain, 

Like the hill's virgin snow-sheet untouch'd by the rain! 

Independent and free, as your sires in the hall, 

But your mind, like the spring-flower, has sweetness for all. 

True Christian unselfish — true patriot and friend, 

With your hand ever raised the forlorn to defend ! 

Since to read human nature I feebly began, 

I can say it with pride — you're a true, honest man ! 

To minions of power tinsel-titles are given, 

But the honest man's worth is acknowledged in Heaven. 

Good deeds are your joy, for the true patriot-mind 
Feels the same honest love for his country and kind, — 
And this is the heaven-worthy feeling that shows 
Where the generous soul's true nobility glows. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



I've heard patriots talk — I've weigh' d their deserts — 

With the lie on their lips and the knave in their hearts — 

Who ne'er to their caste nor country would prove 

One offering of kindness — one action of love. 

But honour to you ! I have seen and long known 

How the bountiful love of your spirit was shown ; 

Your service for others was never yet spared, 

And, tho' small is your fortune, 'tis lovingly shared ! 

But still you are rich, for the Infinite Giver 

Fills the house of the generous with plenty for ever, 

While the gold of the sordid dissolves from his purse, 

Or follows his soul before God, with a curse ! 

Yet, when to Bunratty your bier shall be borne, 

How many will pray, and how many will mourn ! 

And you will be carried, and buried, by none 

But pure, honest hearts and kind hands, like your own ;- 

And your true epitaph shall be read in their tears, 

And felt in their bosoms and heard in their prayers ! 



THE NAMELESS PATRIOT.* 
Air. — " The wounded Hussar /" 

Who was he, at Kilmallock, the brave hearted stranger 

That daringly breasted the fire of the foe ? 
Like a veteran inured to the battle's grim danger, 

He fought till the red hail of death laid him low. 
Nameless he fell on the frozen sward dying, 

No kind hand to soothe him or bear him away ; 
The dreary March wind his sad litany sighing, 

His death-couch and pillow the blood-moisten'd clay. 
When the brave few who struck for their Old Land retreated, 
Outnumber' d — not routed — betray 'd — not defeated ; 
Their gallant young comrade, who fought so elated, 

Pour'd out his heart's blood where behind them he lay! 

When, gory and cold, by the wayside they found him, 
Beneath the bleak freezing sky, lifeless and lone ; 

He wore the lov'd badge of the Virgin around him, 
But the name of the patriot to all was unknown. 

* At the Fenian raid on Kilmallock, there was a young man whose name 
and person were unknown to his companions, although he exposed himself 
courageously to the fire flying thickly from the Barrack. Next day his 
dead body was found, at some distance from the place of action, pierced 
•with several gunshot wounds, but no one could recognise who he was or 
from whence he came. He was respectably dressed and had a gentlemanly 
appearance. His identity has remained a mystery. 

The people of the district have erected a handsome monument over his 
remains in Kilmallock churchyard. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 117 

Was he one of those whom our flunkies, so loyal, 

With the foul name, "assassins" so shamefully bann'd? 

Whose faithful young bosoms but long'd for the trial 
To shed their dear blood for their suffering Land ! 

But prouder your fate, gallant lover of Erin ! 

To fall for your country — her native green wearing — 

Than bear the high name that some traitors are bearing, 
With the gold of the spoiler polluting your hand ! 

When a warrior, falls 'midst his people, victorious, 

With the foes of his country laid 'round him in dust ; 
The emblems of victory, exalted and glorious, 

Encircle his statue and hallow his bust. 
But, for you, son of Freedom ! your fall was as noble — 

You died for the Land which your heart long'd to save ! 
No more will her sorrows your young spirit trouble, 

Nor tyrant disturb the calm peace of your grave ! 
But serenely the sweet beams of heaven now glow there, 
And greenly the fresh, dewy shamrocks grow there ; 
And lovers of Freedom, in future, will go there 

To bless the repose of the youthful and brave ! 



LOVE AND NATIONALITY. 

Air. — " Rory O'More." 

Oh ! pleasant and bright was the sweet summer-day 
When I sat, with fair Kitty, among the green hay ; 
With no one to witness a meeting so sweet — 
Save the skies overhead and the flowers at our feet. 

To their plain, rustic meal the brown mowers were gone, 

And Kitty and I in the fields were alone ; 

I waited and watch'd to be near her all day, 

For my heart to the maiden had something to say. 

Her hand — like a blossom embrown'd by the sun — 

I stole to my lips and then press'd with my own ; 

And her cheek, like the throne of the morning, grew bright, 

When heaven is strown with its roses of light. 

" Now tell me, my sweet, little flower-queen !" I said, 
" Why did you stay from me all day in the mead ? 
Twenty times I stole near you, while tossing the hay, 
And you spoke not, but moved, like a fairy, away ! 

Her hand press'd her brow and lay motionless there, 
Like a white July rose in the shade of her hair ; 
And she paused, like a flower in the sun's fiery beam, 
When the honey-bee woos it, but breaks not its dream. 



118 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Her eye, from her hand, like a rising star, stole, 
And nash'd in my face all the rays of her soul ; 
As, with grief in her accent, but scorn in her glance, 
She said, "You had Peggy, last night, at the dance 1" 

" I had — and I swear by the loving and true, 
I only danced with her while waiting for you ! 
The reels were so fine, and the jigs so well play'd, 
I'd dance to a milestone if wanting a maid ! 

" And 'twas well for the floor — my white lily of Clare ! — 
For I'd tear it 'till daylight if you had been there ! 
But I care not for Peggy — your thoughts are all wrong, — 
And you'll pay for the error a kiss or a song !'' 

"Then I'll give you the song !" — and she sung sweet and well, 

As rich as a lark and as clear as a bell ; 

As if all the balm-breath of the meadows about, 

Had turn'd into music and burst from her mouth ! 

The song was of Erin — her chains and her tears, 
Her visions of Freedom, her hopes and her fears — 
And each note, as it died on the light summer-wind, 
Like the dream of first love, left its sweetness behind. 

Oh ! blest be thy soft mouth of roses and pearls ! 
Come — come to my bosom, my star of all girls ! 
If all Erin's daughters would breathe such wild songs, 
Her sons were not slow in avenging her wrongs ! 



THE GRAVE OF SEAAN BUIDH* MAC NAMARA. 
(FIREBALL.) 

How proudly over cross and tomb, 
Aspires the old gray tower of Quin ? 

Where in their narrow beds of gloom 
Repose Temora's mighty men ; 

The conquering chief — the princely peer — 

Lie silent, cold, and powerless here ! 

Behold yon gray moss-cover'd stone, 

Where Thomond's maids shed drops of sorrow, 
• There sleeps Seaan Buidh, cold, low, and lone, 
The great, the glorious MacNamara ! 
The heart and nerve that never shook — 
The hand that left no mark unstruck ! 

* "Pronounced Shawn Bwee, i.e., yellow John, so called on account of his 
swarthy complexion. His tomb can be seen in a corner of the oratory at 
the left-hand side of the grand high altar. Quin Abbey was dissolved by 
Queen Elizabeth, and granted, with its appurtenances, to Sir Torlogh 
O'Brien, on Deoember 14th, 1583."— Annals of Tho mond. 



LAYS AND •LEOEN'DS OF TTIOMOKD. 119 

Alas ! alas ! renown'd Seaan Buidh ! 

Thou mighty Oak of royal seeds ! 
Thou valour's rock of chivalry ! 

Thou lion of the dreadful deeds ! 
Alas ! that death should here conceal 
Thy heart of flame — thy hand of steel ! 

On Eire's green bosom never trod 
A nobler chief, Seaan Buidh, than you ! 

Before the judgment throne of God 
A braver spirit never flew ! 

The noblest of the brave thou wert ! 

Thou Eagle of the kingly heart ! 

You were the messenger of Death, 

Among the haughty and the bold ; 
Before your anger's burning breath 

The tyrant's quailing heart grew cold ! 
And many a one your hand of doom 
Sent bleeding to an early tomb !* 

Thro' Thomond's valleys, many a day, 

Your gallant actions shall be told ! 
Although the grave has swept away 

The relics of your heroic mould ! 
Your name shall make our spirits start, 
And light a flame in many a heart ! 

v Yet you were gentle to the poor, 

Dark champion of the deadly ball ! 
And they were welcome to your door, 

Your generous board and friendly hall ! 
None, save the tyrants of the land, 
E'er felt the vengeance of your hand ! 

Here o'er your dark and lonely sleep, 
Recounting your brave deeds I stand ! 

While desolation seems to weep 

Around those haunted ruins, grand, 

That fling their weird, sepulchral gloom 

Upon your solemn, ancient tomb ! 

And is your fiery bosom chill'd ? 

And have your strength and valour fail'd ? 
And is your voice of terror still'd, 

At whose dread sound the mighty quail'd ? 
And has your great and grand career, 
'Mid dust and worms, ended here ? 

* He fought fifty-seven duels, besides standing second in numerous 
" affairs of honour." In all of those deadly transactions his opponents were 
the principal sufferers. 



120 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The clang of combat cannot now 

Arouse you from your dreamless rest ! 

The earth-worm crawls upon your brow — 
The cold stone weeps above your breast — 

And have you fail'd yourself to save ! 

That sent so many to the grave ? 

Had Erin many sons, like thee, 

Fierce, fiery, noble, proud, and brave ! 

Their swords would ne'er have fail'd to free 
The poor, degraded, plunder' d slave ! 

But seldom, in a hundred years, 

A daring soul, like thine appears ! 

From Cuilen * of the conquering spear, 
Your heroic blood hath nobly flow'd ; 

No wonder that your stern career, 

With valour's fire so brightly glow'd ! 

Clan Cuilen's eagles now are gone — 

You were the last majestic one ! 

Here, 'mid your old tomb's moss-clad stones, 
His web the sable spider weaves ; 

And o'er your noble, heroic-bones 

The nettle shakes its poisonous leaves ! 

Oh, vanish'd honours of the great ! 

Is this the end of all your state ? 

Oh, gallant Chief ! oh, glorious dead ! 

Where are the honours you have won ? 
The wreaths of fame that crown'd your head ? 

The deeds of valour you have done ? 
One act of grace linked with your name, 
Were better now than all your fame ! 

The twilight clouds have lost their glow, 
And chillingly the night-mists fall ; 

The dreary ruins darker grow, 
The gray owl moans upon the wall — 

I'll leave this place of gloom to thee, 

Farewell ! farewell ! renown'd Seaan Buidh ! 



MOROGH THE BURNER.+ 

Oh ! scandal and curse of the grand House of Tail ! — 
The King-tree of Thomond brought forth evil fruit, 

When its branches first shelter' d the foes of the Gael, 
But thou wert a serpent that crawl'd from its root ! 

* " Cuilen, was the great progenitor of the Mac Namaras, from whom 
their principal tribe name, Clan-Cuilen, was derived ."—Annals of Thomond. 

t Morogh-an-Thutaun, i.e., of the burnings; fire being his favourite 
means of wrecking his vengeance on a hostile country. He burned many 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 121 

The high, leading bough of its glory was wither'd, 

When among the poor off-shoots that sprung from the rind, 

Thy seed of corruption and baseness was gatter'd 
To poison thy country, and ruin thy kind ! 

With Puritan locusts, and Cromwell's death-engines, 
Thou earnest, a plague-cloud of blood, to our Isle ! 

Nor heaven in its anger, nor hell in its vengeance, 
Could cast on her bosom a monster more vile f 

Base tool in the hand of a bloody blasphemer ! 

God's Priests were thy victims, His temples their pyres ! 
Thou'st trampled the Cross of the wounded Redeemer, 

And ravaged His High altars— built by thy sires ! 

Thou homocide- demon of red desolation ! 

Was it thus thy great forefathers earn'd their fame ? 
In Eire's blood-spotted annals, each new generation 

Shall point, with a curse on their lips, at thy name ! 

If heaven, in its wonderful mercy, forgave thee — 

Not Earth, with the wrecks of thy slaughter yet cramm'd — 

Did hell in the jaws of its fury receive thee ? 

If so, even there, thou art curs'd by the damn'd ! 

A Seer has foretold — ere the Last Day of Doom, 

Of Antichrist's- coming, and all he shall do ; 
With the army of hell at his back, let him come ! 

He can't be more wicked than Cromwell, or you ! 



A DIRGE FOR THE DALCASSIANS. 

Oh ! fierce race of lions ! you've sank to your graves, 

From the face of your land — like the ocean's proud waves — 

Fearless and free, full of honours you reign' d, 

And went to your God, with your brave necks unchain'd ! 

Like a bright dream of grandeur you faded away, 

And mute are the halls of your glory to-day — 

Fame cover'd your steps, like the robe of a bride, 

With your valour it lived — but it died when you died ! 

Glory fed your high souls with her fieriest flame, 
And Freedom was wildly in love with your name ! 
In your hands hung the fate and the balance of fight — 
In your frames was the iron-nerved spirit of might — 

of our abbeys and churches. He was a daring and determined commander 
and had but one match, Owen Roe O'Neill. He died on the 9th of Septem- 
ber, 1674, aged 56 years. His remains were privately interred in the 
Cathedral of Limerick. — Annals of Thomonrl. 
9 



122 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

In your eyes the dread lightning of dignity shone — 
In your hearts honour sate on her sanctified throne — 
Alas ! that your glory has faded away, 
Like the unclouded beams of a long summer-day ! 

Your bold breasts were Freedom's strong temple and shield, 
And your red wounds were stanch'd with the moss of the field!* 
Your brave souls were kind, and your friendship was warm 
As the sunshine that melts thro' the haze of the storm ! 
And your burning swords hew'd your fierce enemies down, 
'Till your spirits got drunk with the wine of renown ! 
For your bosoms— which recklessly squander'd their blood — 
Were as proud as the angels that warr'd against God ! 

Scarce can I believe, that Death's iron embrace 

Could fetter your valour — oh ! glorified race ! — 

For nought save the Hand of the Godhead alone 

Could cast down the soul of your might from its throne ! 

When led to the field by your princes and lords, 

Oh ! the wreck of an army was sport to your swords ! 

Or a realm by your arms as swiftly o'erturn'd, 

As a city laid waste, or a corn-field burn'd I 

Alas ! that the days of your glory are gone, 
Like the long, vanish'd rays of some extinguish'd sun 
Alas ! that the slave and the churl have grown 
Where the star of your fame in its magnitude shone ! 
Alas ! that the splendour and pomp of your homes, 
Are dark and decay'd as your time-worn tombs ! 
My soul bursts in rain, o'er the wail of my lyre, 
For the fall of your grandeur — proud spirits of fire ! 

The woods, where you hunted, are levell'd and bare — 
The halls where you feasted are roofless and drear ! 
Thro' portal and chamber the dismal winds howl, 
Where solitude shrouds the dark raven and owl ! 
The foot of the alien is over your graves, 
And the heirs of your princedoms are exiles or slaves ! 
From the cold, dreamless bed of your rest do not 'wake ! 
For your eyes would weep blood, and your proud hearts would 
break ! 



* The Irish annalists say, that the Dalgais, when attacked by the men 
of Ossory, on their return from the battle of Clontarf, stanched their 
wounds with moss, and having stakes fixed in the ground, a wounded man 
was tied to each, with a strong man placed at his side. In this heroic 
position they Igave battle to their assailants and defeated them. It has 
been truly said by the historians, that they (the Dalgais) were the first 
in every field, and the last to leave it. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 123 

THE SWAN OF THE AYR. 

{Addressed to an Ayrshire Lady t ) 

Here by the blue stream of the deep, winding Shannon, 

With a bright robe of flowers on his banks wild and fair, 
The Bard lifts his voice, 'mid the glory of summer, 

To sing the high praise of the Swan of the Ayr ! 
Thou art lovely as Spring in a valley of blossoms, 

Thy mind is a palace of sunshine all rare ! 
In every sweet feature, the beauty of Nature 

Has breathed its music — Bright Swan of the Ayr ! 

I mark, by the clear wave, the stately, young willow, 

As graceful it bows to the zephyrs of noon ; 
I mark the wild rose, on the bank's sunny pillow, 

Yielding up its sweet soul to the heaven of June ! 
That willow so slender — that red flower so tender, 

With thy cheek and thy form can only compare ! 
Thy form is the willow that leans o'er the billow, 

Thy cheek the sweet wild rose — Bright Swan of the Ayr ! 

As sunbeams asleep, on the silver of morning, 

Thy rich tresses rest on the throne of thy brow ! 
And thy lips have the March evening's rainbow- vermilion, 

With two calm stars above and a white cloud below ; 
The dew's crystal brightness on blossoms of whiteness, 

Than thy breast's snowy heaven was never more fair ! 
The dew is thy bosom, thy heart is the blossom, 

Thy virtue its odour — Bright Swan of the Ayr ! 

One calm summer-night, in a halo of slumber, 

A sunny-hair'd angel was shaped in my dream ! 
But when I first knew thee, and gazed on thy beauty, 

I thought on that angel, for thou wert the same ! 
I've heard, from the wild dell, the music of Fairies, 

As they rode on a cloud o'er the grand hills of Clare ; 
But thy voice sweetly ringing, when speaking or singing, 

Hath the spell of their air-harps — Bright Swan of the Ayr ! 

Thou'st come from the Land of romance, love and glory ! 

The fair Caledonia of valour and song, 
In whose glens so romantic, and mountains gigantic, 

Fame, freedom and chivalry flourished so long ! 
Thou'st come to our heaven-bright, Emerald Island, 

The down-trodden Land of the "smile and the tear !" 
Then welcome, thou dear one — thou angelic fair one ! 

Sweet Lily of Sunville— Bright Swan of the Ayr ! 



124 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



THE BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURGH.* 

On Fredericksburgh's embattled plain calm look'd the lord of 

light, 
And' slow the sunny-bosom'd haze was melting in his sight ; 
While glittering in one iron blaze, two mighty armies stood, 
And soon did mother Earth drink deep her furious children's 

blood. 

Around the dark hills, tier on tier, the Rebel guns are set, 
And sternly on the plain below the Federal powers are met ; 
From Rappahannock's bounding flood to Fredericksburgh is 

seen 
The war-god's chess board studded thick with lines of warlike 



In bristling ridges, o'er the field, the numerous bands deploy — 
A dazzling sea of sunbright steel on all sides meets the eye ; 
While rifle-pit and battery, with grim destruction rife, 
Expand their black, devouring mouths athirst for human life. 

But who are those majestic troops, so stalwart, stern and 

proud, 
That move in awful grandeur, like the desert's deadly cloud? 
Each wears a green wreath o'er his heart, with manly pride 

display'd — 
Oh ! those are Erin's exiled sons, bold Meagher's fierce Brigade ! 

Lo ! in their fiery Celtic eyes what martial lightnings play? 
They look, like eagles gazing round the stormy hills for prey ; 
With quick, impatient glance they view the Rebels' dreadful 

hold, 
Like hungry leopards glaring on a well-defended fold. 

Now, peal on peal, the skirmishers their hostile fire began, 
And rapidly from sky to sky the ringing echoes ran ; 
And fierce, and fast the wave-like ranks to meet the onset form, 
As move the sand-hills when they feel the coming Simoom- 
storm. 

"Fix bayonets ! — charge, — and take the hills !" was heard the 

stern command, 
And, with a cheer and headlong dash, on swept the Irish band ; 
The gallant Meagher, sword in hand, the rushing war-surge 

led, 
As brave a Chief as ever gemm'd an Irish army's head ! 

* I have introduced this Irish- American battle-scene into the volume, 
-merely because Meagher's Irish Brigade so fiercely and recklessly fought and- 
fell at Fredericksburgh. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 125 

Across the sounding plain they drive their desperate tide of 

might — ■ 
Their bayonet-points, like rushing stars above the sea at 

night — 
Their battle-yell, the thunder's voice in heaven's cloudy hall, 
Or Niagara's mighty war-shout, where his giant-torrents fall. 

The batteries ope'd their iron throats, with one tremendous 

roar, 
And shot, and shell thro' rifted lines, like naming rivers, tore ; 
Still fast and fierce as they advance, as fierce and fast among 
Their melting ranks the Rebel-guns the metal death-showers 

flung. 

On flank and front, from right to left, the shattering shot and 

shell, 
In blazing hurricanes of death, upon the phalanx fell ; 
Still on they press, like some great war-ship cleaving tide and 

wind, 
A sea of rolling flame before— a bloody surge behind ! 

As roars the dread volcano when its fiery bowels heave 
Upon the scorch'd and blasted plain the lava's burning wave ; 
Thus roar'd and roll'd the avalanche of fire thro' flank and van; 
And still they close their ball-plough'd ranks and furiously 
rush on. 

They near the hills, and fiercer still the iron deluge grows, 
From rifle-pit and battery the fiery showers arose; 
Earth shook, as on that fated band the flaming flood descends, 
Heaven rung, as if the Last Day's blast had swept thro' all its 
ends. 

As towers, in shapeless masses, from their deep foundations 

thrown, 
When an earthquake yawns, and draws its breath, and sucks 

a city down ; 
Thus reel'd and sank, in horrid wreck, the columns of the Gael, 
Before that all-destroying storm of blazing metal-hail. 

As in their summer glory fall the fair oaks of the wood, 
Thus lay the brave, young comely Celts mow'd down in dust 

and blood ; 
WhilQ X)'er the crimson ruin roll'd the Rebels' triumph-yell, 
The remnant of that stern Brigade back, like a spent wave, 
... . '^11. 

Well may ye shout, ye Rebel powers"! but were ye on the plain, 
In equal battle with those Celts, you'd never shout again! 
Be thankful to your strongholds for the victory you enjoy, 
Or btepdy Fredericksburgh would be another Fontenoy ! $ 



126 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Oh, valiant sons of Golamh's race ! * exiled by English laws! 

Thus do ye perish in the van of every foreign cause ! 
In court and council — war or peace, your mainly worth is known, 
And thus ye toil, and bleed, and die for all lands but your own ! 

The world, in mute sensation, at your superhuman deeds, 
Mourns o'er the reeking field where your stupendous valour 

bleeds ! 
The trumpet-echo of your fame from pole to pole has spread, 
While crownless Erin in the dust bewails her children dead. 

Now dreadful on the Federal right the stormy battle raged, 
As, like the ocean's furious dash, the mighty powers engaged ; 
One deafening roar of blazing guns along the hills is heard, 
And bloody rivers, bank'd with dead, along the plains appear'd. 

But vainly on the Rebel-holds they drive, with surging shock, 
Host after host is hurl'cl back, like billows from a rock ; 
Still fiercely o'er the fallen lines fresh masses drive amain, 
And still as fast the Rebel -batteries mow them on the plain. 

Where were you, great M'Clelland? You so valiant, wise and 

kind! 
Where were you, when that awful field required your mighty 

mind ? 
If you were there, the bloody hand of slaughter had been 

stay'd ! 
And still the Union would exult in many a brave Brigade! 

Oh ! Burnside ! ill-starr'd of war ! the night is gathering on ! 
The day was spent in blood, and yet the Rebels hold their 

own. — 
Oh! who can tell, thou hapless Chief ! thy bosom's rending 

pain, 
To see thy mighty, matchless host thus sacrificed in vain? 

Withhold thy gloomy veil, Night ! 'Lamp of Heaven, 

delay 
Thy downward course, 'till he retrieves the honors of the day ! 
Alas! the darkness thickens fast — oh, God! for Joshua's 

prayers, 
For one brief period, to suspend the motion of the spheres! 

The dusky night-fall blended with the war-field's sulphurous 

haze, 
The throat of battle ceased to roar and belch the deadly blaze ; 
Twas like the awful calm that heralds ruin to the earth — 
The ghastly stillness that precedes some dread eruption's 

birth.— 

* Milesius. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOXD. 127 

Lo! how the vengeful Federals collect their scatter'd might, 
Thick as the flying clouds of heaven, upon a stormy night ! 
And, like the sudden fury of the fierce tornado's course, 
Right forward on the Rebel-hills they hurl their frantic force. 

One giant-flame leap'd redly up and overthrew Night's 

throne, — 
One roar of cannon seem'd to shake the sounding planets 

down; — 
One fiery surge of iron on the Federal ranks burst forth, 
As if heaven and hell contended for the mastery of earth ! 

Death gloated o'er the Federal host, and, with dire vengeance, 

quaffd, 
From many a brave expiring heart, the last exhaustive draught ! 
Again grim silence wrapt the scene — the shatter'd troops 

recross'd 
The Rappahannock's gloomy tide — and Fredericksburgh was 

lost! 



THE FATE OF DE QUINCY.* 

De Quincy went forth, in the day of his pride, 
When the daughter of Strongbow became his fair bride ; 
And the swords of his might were like meteors that fall 
O'er the face of Loch Swilly in green Donegal. 

And the warriors he led, were as fierce, and as bold, 
As the demons that dwell in the clouds of the wold ; 
For the death-yell of slaughter was sweet to their ears, 
And the strong hand of plunder and ruin was theirs. 

Their horse-hair plumes darken'd their helmets' gold comes, 
Like the night-spreading mist on the hills' yellow thrones, 
When the sun, like a furnace, is burning the wave, 
With his flame dimly seen thro' the cloud-bars of eve. 

The princely domains of O'Dempsey they burn'd, 
And the high palace-halls of his mansion o'erturn'd ; 
They slaughter'd his people and plunder'd his bawns, 
Nor steeds, kine, nor corn did they leave on his lawns. 

And De Quincy march'd home, in the joy of his fame, 
To lay the rich spoil at the feet of his dame : 
" Those gems of O'Dempsey 's proud daughters !" he cried, 
"Will look well in the bright, silken locks of my bride !" 

* He was not long married to Strongbow' s daughter, when he led a band 
of Norman brigands into O'Dempsey's country in Leinster, to plunder and 
sack it. He was set upon by the Chief, O'Dempsey, at the head of his clan, 
and the invaders, with their leader, were soon cut to pieces. — Four Masters. 



128 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And his knights sang the song of their triumph, and drove 
Their steeds, swift as eagles when towering above ; 
But fierce as the blast to October's sere leaf, 
Sprung O'Dempsey's wild clan on the track of the Chief. 

And high in the van, like a fire in the skies, 
With the flames of his soul all alive in his eyes, 
The injured O'Dempsey his blazing sword whirl'd, 
Like the lightning of God o'er the guilt of the world ! 

Mad on the foe burst his clan, with a cheer, 

And dire was the clangor of corslet and spear ; 

And the blood-drinking war-axe, with helm-riving shock, 

Roar'd, like heaven's bolt of fire when it shatters a rock. 



Brief, bloody and brave was the battle they fought, 
And dreadful the meed to the robbers they brought ; 
For De Quincy and all his fierce brigands were smash'd, 
And the flesh of their frames to the mountain-wolves dash'd ! 

Sad news for proud Strongbow — The terrible tale 
Has gone, like a blast, thro' the homes of the Pale — 
And the eyes of his radiant-hair'd daughter are red, 
With the rain of her soul, for the fate of the dead. 



THE BATTLE OF FANCONRAD.* 
king Brian's address to the dalgais. 

" Fam'd sons of Olliol Ollum !" Brian cried, 

" In this great day be all your valour tried ! 

Be like your fathers, with your swords and shields, 

And sweep the pirates from your wasted fields ! 

Let the grim Dane and rude O'Foelan know 

Mononia's wrath in every hostile blow ! 

Let your red falchions make the blood-springs flow, 

And swallow lives, as sunbeams drink the snow ! 

* Donald O'Foelan, King of the Decies, was stung to resentment against 
Brian Boroimhe, on account of the severe defeat which Molloy Mac Bran 
and Donovan suffered at the hands of that monarch ; and in revenge, he 
(O'Foelan) raised a great army of Danes and Irish, and invaded Brian's 
territories with fire and sword. Brian immediately marched against him, 
at the head of his brave Dalgais, set upon the devastators at a place 
called Fanconrad, in the county Tipperary, and after a furious engage- 
ment, drove them, with great slaughter, into Waterford, where O'Foelan 
was slain with all his officers, and Brian's army plundered and burned 
the city to the ground. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 129 

Think of your sires, who, first in every field, 
(The shield of armies and Mononia's shield, ) 
Pour'd their hot vengeance on the pirate-band, 
And mow'd the battle, with a flaming hand ! 
Think of Dundalgia,* where the blue sea-flood 
Boil'd with a fire-shower of the Northmen's blood ! 
Where your fierce sires fought, like the ocean's storms, 
Leaping from heaven, with ruin in their arms ! 
Let this great thought inflame your souls to-day, 
Whet your revenge and nerve your arms to slay ! 
Give the red robbers their well-earn'd reward, 
Death-blows and graves — the wages of the sword ! 
Who spares a foreign or a native foe, 
May Freedom's God destroy him at a blow ! 
Mark, the red flames our verdant vales invade, 
What clouds of smoke the blacken' d skies o'ershade ! 
Hear how the spoilers' shouts triumphant swell, 
And startle heaven with their savage yell ! 
On with the Lionsf thro' the wood of war ! 
Lift the brass shield and hurl the greedy spear ! 
Give the blue war-axe and the sword full swing, 
And quench their lightning in a crimson spring ! 
Rush, like a flame from heaven's consuming eye — 
Strike, like the thunder from a burning sky — 
Charge, like a flood with raging torrents swell'd — 
Break the war's beam and sweep the roaring field !" 

Fierce was the war-whoop from the troops that burst 

And in the field their monarch was the first ; 

His fiery armour, in a blaze of beams, 

Look'd like the Ghebre's tall round tower in flames. 

His plume, like midnight's angry storm-cloud shook 

Above the mountain-grandeur of his look ; 

And as he whirl'd his fire-emitting brand, 

He seem'd, in front of his gigantic band, 

A war-god, with a meteor in his hand ! 

Onward they sweep in one tremendous flood, 
As when a hurricane swings the dancing wood ; 
Their flaming weapons, like a burning grove, 
Emblaze the cloud-line of their crests above ; 

* The memorable battle of Dundalk, where the naval squadron of Munster, 
commanded by the gallant Admiral Felba Fion, attacked the Danish fleet, 
and encountered the land and sea forces of the foreigners, who were nearly 
ten to one. The army of Munster were looking from the shore at the bloody 
and unequal struggle, but could render no assistance to their countrymen, 
who, seeing themselves overmatched by the superior numbers of the enemy, 
sooner than yield, flew on the Danish officers and principal chiefs, grasped 
them, and leaped overboard with them into the sea. The Danes, terrified 
at such awful achievements, hoisted sails and fled, leaving the Irish victo- 
rious.— Keating. 

t The provincial banner of the " Three Yellow Lions. 1 ' 



130 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 

And their blue helmets seem'd, as they march' d on, 

Like torrent-billows flashing in the sun. 

Fierce met the hosts, like two huge mountains swung 

Against each other, by an earthquake flung ; 

Rocks, woods and streams in thunderous ruin driven — 

Earth starts amazed and groans aloud to heaven ; 

Thus the dread crash of breaking ranks was heard, 

And such dire ruin thro' the fields appear'd. 

The cleft shields shriek — the grinding axes roar— 

The plunging spears thro' bursting corslets tore — 

The raging swords spit blood in heaven's eye, 

As on earth»s red lap roll'd her sons to die ! 

Thro' the mad tumult Brian's helmet burns, 

Like a March sun in darkness plunged, by turns, 

When the black Storm-king hunts the clouds thro' space, 

And flings their shadows in his blazing face. 

As on the hand of the Almighty power, 
The rushing wave-hills of the ocean roar ; 
His great command the awful deeps obey, 
And, in their madness, hear his dread decree ; 
Thus, in the war, the furious Dalcas bands 
Heard and obeyed their monarch's fierce commands ; 
Where'er he points his mowing falchion, there 
Death spreads a feast and earth partakes her share. 
On his broad shield the iron breakers roar, 
Around his feet the war's red fountains pour ; 
Proud and unshaken 'mid the shock he strides, 
And with the battle girds his towering sides. 

O'er the scoured plain the flaming conflict pass'd, 
As thro' a pine grove sweeps the Polar blast, 
The sylvan giants, hurl'd from their beds, 
Stoop from the sky and roll on earth their heads. 
With such wild ruin and disorder riven, 
O'Foelan's armies from the field are driven ; 
The shouting Dalgais drive upon their track, 
Like sea-fiends roaring round a shatter'd wreck. 
On roll'd the vengeance of the battle-cloud, 
With spirits flying from its crimson shroud ; 
The strong blows sounded, like a cascade's roar 
When o'er the river drives a hailstone shower, 
While the mad surges, in wild shouting ranks, 
Toss their white plumes and charge against the banks. 
So dire the wreck — so furious was the rout — 
So fierce the clamour, and so wild the shout — 
The armies seem'd a wood by storms, uptorn 
And, roll'd together, o'er the country borne. 

Bards of Kinkora ! strike your harps, and sing 
The mighty actions of your Hero-king ! 
Lo ! he s returning to his halls of joy, 
Grand as the Day -god in a morning sky ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 131 

His foes are crush'd, and round his regal car 
Stride the grim hewers of the grove of war ! 
Strike the wild harp ! your Victor-king comes on, 
As proud as Niall,* and as fierce as Conn ! t 



BARDIC MEDITATIONS. 

By the soft-sounding waves of the Fergus I lay, 
And my spirit drank deep of their music all day ; 
While the clouds of my destiny seem'd to depart 
In the sunburst of rapture that gushed from my heart. 

And my soul, with the wings of her transport unfurl'd, 
Flew up to the Lord of this beautiful world ; 
And from the starr'd halls of his Palace survey'd, 
Creation in all its resplendence array'd. 

And fondly I gazed on the proud hills of Clare, 
With the blue sky o'erglassing their green foreheads fair ; 
While my heart to their thrones, like a morning ray, sprang, 
And pierced the blue glooms where the leaping streams sang. 

Thro' Hy Caisin's bright country of legends I pass'd, 
Where the fragrant birch forest its green shadows cast, 
And the wild mountain-blast croons a requiem of sorrow 
Round the ghost-haunted towers of the fierce MacNamara 

I sigh'd for the race of the valiant and strong, 

That dwelt 'mid those grand hills when Erin was young ; 

Ere the steel-hearted Saxon polluted our sod, 

Or cowering slaves crawl'd where the mighty once trod. 

I gazed on the radiant plains cover'd with bloom, 
Where the famish 'd serf weeps o'er his desolate home ; 
While the golden fruits rear'd by the toil of his hand, 
Are devour'd by the foes of his dear Motherland. 

Oh ! helots of Erin ! when will ye be men, 
To grasp the bright steel of your fathers again ? 
And stand in the blaze of the battle's red fire, 
Like them, to win freedom or nobly expire ! 

The birds of the air and the beasts of the wood, 
On the mountains, around you, find shelter and food ; 
While you — oh ! lost Celts ! — have no homes to enjoy, 
But are cast on the world to famish and die. 

* Nial of the Nine Hostages. f Conn of the Hundred Battles. 



132 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Has cowardice flung o'er your spirits its rust ? — 
What curse or what spell keeps your hearts in the dust ? 
Or why act ye brave when to strange lands ye roam ? — 
Bold heroes " abroad "—but base helots at " home /" 

Instead of the sword — brightly raised for your land — 
'Tis the knife of the traitor that gleams in your hand ! 
And the Saxon — that always has found you a fool, 
To work your own ruin — still makes you his tool ! 

Is your nature debased with that vile coward-creed 
Which says 'tis a crime for your country to bleed ? 
Its cancer and curse in your souls have found root, 
And exile, and famine, and death are its fruit. 

Ere your masters the claims of your country shall feel, 
You must speak to their hearts with the ring of your steel 
What humbled the tyrant on Israel's plain ? 
'Twas the sword of the Lord in the hand of Gideon ! 

Throughout your sad Island oppression walks bare, 
With the joy of a fiend o'er a damn'd soul's despair ; 
You may starve — 'tis no treason — but dare you lay claim 
To the fowls of the air or the fish of the stream ? 

And" you talk — while the curse of the burden is borne — 
'Till manhood and honour have damn'd you to scorn ! 
'Till, like Cain-branded felons and outlaws, you're cast 
Into living Sepulchres* to perish at last ! 

Want clings round your steps, as the worm to its slime — 
Your commerce is treason — your virtue is crime — 
Your are hated and hunted, insulted and bann'd, 
As lumber and rubbish encumbering the land ! 

Ah ! 'twere nobler to die on the red field of fame, 
With a wreath on your deeds and a light on your name, 
Than, like women, to mourn and talk o'er your. chains, 
'Till the spirit of manhood grows sick in your veins ! 

The Muscovite robber was scourged by the Poles ! 

Will the fire of their deeds give a spark to your souls ? 

How bravely they wasted the blood of their veins, 

While you murmur'd, like beggars, and skulk'd in your chains ! 

Oh ! great God of vengeance ! how long will our cry, 
Rise up to the throne of thy glory on high ? 
Oh ! when will the Beggars of Egypt be free, 
Who, thro 1 ages of hunger, are faithful to Thee ? 

* Poorhouses. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 133 

Lo ! thy vineyard is pillaged by cowards and thieves ! 
And thy temple is crowded with huxters and knaves ! 
And the shepherds of Israel have fallen asleep, ** 
While the Philistine-wolves are devouring thy sheep ! 



THE BATTLE OF THE CURLEW MOUNTAINS.* 

In splendour array 'd, 

Stern Clifford came forth, 
With his host to invade 

The green plains of the North ; 
And many a Knight, 

With high hope in his eyes, 
Set out, with delight, 

On the fierce enterprise. 

With a hero's heart swelling, 

And bright as a star, 
The lordly Dunkellin 

Rode on to the war ; 
With Rathcliff, whose sword 

Was tremendous in fight — 
A tower and a ford 

Were the chiefs in their might. 

" On — on to the mountain, 

Our foes' dwelling rude ! 
Let your swords in a fountain 

Of blood be imbrued ! 
'Till their fastness of safety 

With carnage is spread, 
And the valley grows lofty 

With piles of their dead !" 

With cavalry prancing, 

Their march they begun ; 
With helmets all glancing 

The blaze of the sun : 
With eager hearts heaving 

For conquest and spoil, 
Strode the fierce brigands leaving 

The borders of Boyle. 

With red banners streaming, 

The gorgeous array — 
With battle-spears flaming, 

Tramped proud on their way — 

* Sir Connyers Clifford led a strong division of Lord Essex's arlny to 
penetrate through the defiles of the Curlew Mountains, into Tyrconnell. 
They had advanced only midway in the glen, when, with the rush of a winter 
torrent, the Clan Connaill was upogltkem, and cut them to pieces.— Jo hn 
Mitchell's Life of Hugh O'Neill. 



134 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Thro' the glen's rocky border 

They hurry along, 
In grand martial order, 

Majestic and strong. 

The mountains are silent — 

No murmur is heard, 
Save the stream from the highland, 

And song of the bird, 
Whilst — reckless of danger — 

Like wolves from their den — 
The ranks of the stranger 

Drive on thro' the glen. 

As bursts the red thunder, 

Fierce, sudden and loud, 
Swift rending asunder 

The grey mountain-cloud- - 
As the wintry surge swells 

Round a sea-faring crew — 
So rang the wild hills, 

With, " O'Donnell Aboo /" 

The bagpipes are sounding 

Tyrconnell's dread charge ; 
The clansmen are bounding, 

With war-axe and targe ; 
Where the shadowy fern 

Has spread its deep screen, 
A host of wild Kerne, 

Fierce, rising, is seen. 

As an Autumn flood sweeping, 

Augmented by rain, 
From the mountain's breast leaping 

On crops of the plain, 
So swift, in their ire, 

Dash'd Tyrconnell's fierce clans — 
A torrent of fire — 

On the Sassenach bands. 



As a w r ave to the coast 

Swings a ship on its track, 
So Clifford's bold host 

Thro' the ravine sways back 
While, furiously dashing 

On column and rank, 
Tyrconnell drives, crashing 

Thro' centre and lank. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 135 

Like the fury of heaven, 

Roar'd musket and sword, — 
Like thunder-hail driven, 

The bullets were shower'd ; — 
Like a storm-flash brightning, 

The blue-gleaming axe, 
With the vengeance of lightning, 

The foeman attacks. 

The death-knell of battle 

Swells higher and higher — 
The mountain rocks rattle 

With falchion and fire ! 
O'er the war-surge high heaving, 

Is heard the dread crash 
Of the ringing axe cleaving 

Thro' armour and flesh. 



As a ghost on the wings 

Of the tempest of night, 
The fierce Red Hugh springs 

Thro' the flames of the fight ; 
The Leader he singled — 

Their weapons are raised — 
While around, fiercely mingled, 

The battle-tide blazed. 

As rushes the beagle 

On Callan's wild fawn, 
As sweeps the strong eagle 

O'er woodland and lawn, 
So to combat they rush'd, 

And their cleaving brands flew 
But Clifford's blood blush'd 

On the steel of Red Hugh. 

The contest grows tangled — 

The Saxon gives way, 
Where the war-axes mangled 

His broken array ; 
No leader to rally, 

No room for retreat, 
In that slaughter-fill'd valley 

One grave is their fate. 

In bloody profusion 

The columns are tost ; 
Disorder — confusjpn — 

Environ the holt ! 



136 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Like the blast of contagion 

By Azrael blown, 
So that late splendid legion 

Lay bleeding and strown. 

Like a wood cleft asunder 

And flung in a mass, 
The carnage lies under 

The shades of the Pass — 
The granite is painted — 

One cheer — All is done — 
The war-shout has fainted — 

The victory's won ! 

The red tide is welling 

From mountain to plain — 
Rathcliff and Dunkellin 

Are mix'd with the slain — 
The eagles are speeding 

To feast on the dead, 
Where, still freshly bleeding, 

The corpses lie spread. 

There's harping and feasting 

In Ulster to-night ; 
The victors are hast'ning 

To share the delight ; 
The maids of Tyrconnell 

Are chanting a song 
In praise of O'Donnell, 

The valiant and strong. 



MAC GENNIS'S DAUGHTER. 

In Coonagh's wild meadows the May-flowers are springing, 
In Meelick's green woodlands the wild birds are singing, 
And the light mountain -zephyr has curled the blue water 
That flows near the home of Mac Gennis's daughter ! 
The sun o'er the bright bosom'd-fields is ascending — 
The gold of his beams with their verdure is blending, 
And the primroses peep, from their dewy recesses 
Round the azure-eyed maid of the bright-yellow tresses ! 

The balm of the rich moorland-thyme is not sweeter 
Than the heart-winning smile of young Jane, when I meet her ! 
How oft, with the song of her beauty, I've sought her, 
And spoke with my soul to Mac Gennis's daughter ? 
How oft have I play'd with her long ringlets streaming, 
And gazed on her face with its love-spirit beaming, 
And press'd her small hand than the lily's head whiter, 
And marked her glad eyes than the sunny rills brighter ? 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 137 

The poppies that flush 'mid the ripe-waving corn — 
The sun-gems that glow in the red crown of morn, — 
The crimson of sunset on Shannon's calm water — ■ 
Would fade in the blush of Mac Gennis's daughter ! 
The soft, dawn of Cana o'er moorland springs bending — 
The white moonlight clouds on the dark hills descending — 
The snow-spirit's robe, or the hue of the blossom — 
Were dark in their glory if peer'd with her bosom ! 



The foxglove* that stars the green skirt of the meadow — 
The wild-rose that sleeps in the mountain's blue shadow — 
The heath-bells that garland the eagle's high eyrie — 
The snow- drops that gem the weird haunts of the fairy — 
The sun-bow that zones the red bosom of even' — 
When the shower-clouds, like jewels, are melting in heaven — 
The face of the blue-bell, with summer-tears laden — 
Hath not the wild beauty that beam'd in the maiden ! 



In the hall of her father no virgin was milder, 
In the bright fields no reindeer was fleeter or wilder, 
For the sun of her heart knew no shadow of sadness, 
And her soiil was a harp tuned to anthems of gladness ! 
Her love was a pure fount of feeling and kindness, 
Where my spirit fell in and was drown'd in its blindness, 
For I walk'd, like a Magian, thro' air-halls enchanted, 
'Till my life with wild love-dreams and angels was haunted ! 

By the Fairies' green palace near yon w T aveless fountain, 
By the woods of the vale and the rocks of the mountain, 
We strayed thro' the mists of the crimson-eyed even' — 
When the meadows were white with the crystals of heaven ; 
While her eyes, like two star-worlds, glisten'd delighted, 
With the love songs and legends I sang or recited, 
'Till my fancy grew drunk o'er the pictures it brought her, 
For my soul was in love with Mac Gennis's daughter ! 



But time brought a change on his pinions of fleetness, 
That darken'd our joys in their full summer sweetness ! 
Woe fell on the land — and o'er ocean's green water 
Mac Gennis hath, sailed with his beautiful daughter ! 
I stood on the shore, with my wounded heart beating, 
And saw her tall bark down the Shannon retreating ; 
Oh ! she gazed from the deck, and I curs'd the dark water 
That roll'd between me and Mac Gennis's daughter ! 



» Commonly known as the lusmore, or fairy herb. 
10 



138 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMeND. 

In Meelick's green woodlands the Spring is returning, 
And the golden-brow'd sun on the mountains is burning, 
And the gushing streams sing thro' the flower-bosom'd valleys, 
And the dales are all robed with wild roses and lilies ! 
I stray'd on the lawn, by her cottage forlorn, 
Where the sounding trees dance to the songs of the morn, 
And my love-dreaming heart thro' the lone garden sought her — 
Oh ! tell me, ye flowers ! where's Mac Gennis's daughter ? 



ADDRESS TO AUBREY DE VERE, ESQ. 

Oh, gifted Bard ! thy swelling song 

Is rife with Nature's genial fire ! 
Impassion'd, lofty, chaste, and strong, 

Burst forth the wild notes of thy lyre ! 
Thy wizard Muse on glowing wing 

Shoots forward, as a golden dart, 
And, with a startling trumpet-ring, 

Awakes and thrills the charm'd heart ! 



How radiant in thy classic lay 

The summer's floral glories beam? 
As if the vernal gems of May 

Were woven in thy flowery theme ! 
As in the river's morning gleam, 

Bank, bower, and sunny heaven appear, 
Thus in thy song's resplendent stream 

Bright Nature's beauty sparkles clear ! 

Oh ! may thy rich heart long enjoy 

The glorious gift of song divine ! 
And ne'er may envious worm destroy 

Thy page, where Poesy's jewels shine ! 
Thp' faintly sounds this lyre of mine, 

Its master's heart can treasure well 
The soul delighting tones of thine, 

And feel the sweetness of their spell ! 



Tho' to thy numbers' lofty sound 

My voice is but a linnet's thrill, 
Amid the cascade's music drown'd, — 

Proud-rushing from a lordly hill ! 
Accept — great Bard — this simple lay 

An humble brother minstrel gives, 
Whose spirit walks the aerial way 

Where Fancy charms and Beauty lives ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 139 

THE BRIDE OF CLAN CUILEN.* 

A ROMANCE OF CARRIGOGTTNNELL.f 
CANTO I. 

The woodlands are calm, and the rude winds are laid, 

And the landscape is red with the sun's parting ray ; 
The pearly clouds float o'er the mountain's blue shade, 

And Nature is dressed in the beauty of May ; 
The yellow West glows, like a bright golden treasure, 

No stain dims the calm, sapphire splendour of heaven ; 
The night-queen looks down from her palace of azure, . 

And her handmaid-stars weep o'er the pale, dying even'. 
But hark ! to the sound of the gay bridal-revel — 

In the grand hall of Carrig the wedding guests meet ; 
And the bridesmaids are pacing the lawn's flowery level, 

With lips red as berries, and necks white as sleet — 
For the Lord of the Rock, the renown'd Mac Con Mara, % 

The prince of thy banquets, Clan Cuilen of swords ! 
Has given his fair child to O'Brien of Ara,§ 

The bravest and best of Mononia's proud lords ! 

Lightly the bride from the altar's returning, 
Brightly the bonfires before her are burning ; 
Sweetly the tones of the bagpipes are ringing, 
Fleetly the gay, youthful dancers are springing. 
Proudly the chiefs round the bridal feast gather- 
Loudly resounds the old halls of her father ; 
Grandly the rich golden meaders are glowing, 
Blandly the notes of the clarseachs are flowing; 
Eveleen reigns the young queen of the wassail — 
Revelling and song shake the glorious old Castle, 
Valleys and plains send their tributes to meet her — 
Allies and Seanachies are coming to greet her ; 

* The principality of the Mac Namaras, which comprised Coonagh, Crat- 
loe, Bunratty, Upper and Lower Tulla, and a part of other districts, in 
Thomond. The greater portion of those lands was bestowed to them, after 
the battle of Dysart, as a reward for their services to the Trinces of Tho- 
mond. 

t Carrigogunnell, the ancient patrimony of a branch of the O'Briens, 
was, for a short period, in the hands of the Mac Namaras of Clan Cuilen, 
through an intermarriage of the families. 

t Commonly pronounced Mac Namara, i.e., Son of the sea. 

? "Ara, a small mountain district, north of the Keeper Hills. It was the 
principality of a branch of the Thomond Princes, called the O'Briens of 
Ara; they were descended from the consummate warrior, Brian Bane, who 
settled in Ara, a.d. 1318, and expelled the Clan Fion Bloid, the original 
owners, from the district. The life of this formidable Chief was one con- 
tinued tragedy of battle, bloodshed, burning, and foray. He was, at length, 
assassinated by the Clan Mac Keogh, in the year 1350. His death was 
amply avenged by his son, Torlogh Oge, who exterminated the Clan Keogh, 
and seized on their lands and chattels."— Annals of Thomond. 



140 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Clansman and chief from the mountain and wildwood, 
Kinsman and bard from the glens of their childhood ! 
The wealth and the might of Clan Cuilen and Ara, 
All throng the proud mansion of brave Mac Con Mara ! 

Rich sirloins are smoking — brown ale and red wine — 
Thro' the gay banquet-hall pour their currents divine ! 
Behold in the dais the brave and the fair ! 
What grandeur and glory, and beauty are there ? 
What chivalrous bearing— what high queenly pride — 
What order and dignity reign on each side ? 
There are warriors whose arms would shatter a band — 
There are ladies whose charms would conquer the land ! 
Proud eyes that would strike through the souls of the boldest, 
And smiles that would warm the hearts of the coldest. 
Like a star-circled heaven the flashing hall glow'd — 
Each dame seem'd an angel, each chieftain a god ! 

Pour thy wild song, oh, Mac Curtin the gifted ! \ 
The dancers' light feet to thy measure are lifted ! 
The ladies and lords of Clan Cuilen the bright, 
Shall move to thy harp's fairy music to-night ! 
The sweet ringing' numbers enchantingly pour, 
And the pride of all Thomond appears on the floor ; 
Eyes glance, jewels glitter, and flushing cheeks burn, 
A» they glide thro' the mazes, change sides and return — 
What majesty brightens each eye and each face ? 
What noble deportment — what dignified grace 
Mark the step and the bearing of each in the ring ? 
Each dam$ looks a princess — each hero a king ! 

The revel grows wilder — more wine is supplied, 
And more boisterous gaiety comes with its tide ! 
The ringing towers tremble — the wine- bowls resound — 
The boards are replenished — the toast goes around — 
Hospitality reigns in its wildest profusion, 
Singing, laughing, and dancing, all blend in confusion ! 
Wild cheers of applause, as the dancers prevail, 
Ring thro' the rafters, and swell on the gale ! 

There's a cloud o'er the Castle — there's mist on the heath, 

And the woods seem as wrapt in the darkness of death — 

Tho' the moon, in mid-heaven, beholds not a trace 

Of a cloud on her pathway, nor mist on her face ! 

A gloom from yon summit pervades the still air, 

For the dark fairy hosts of Knocfeirin are there ; 

And their monarch has vow'd — ere the dawn of the morrow — 

To crown, as his queen, Eveleen Ni Con Mara ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 141 

But the Fays of Clan Cuilen — who know his design — * 
(To protect the young princess) against him combine ; 
They muster their legions on Cratloe's dark height, 
With the mountain-mist round them all silent and white. 

From valley and woodland, and river, and bower 

They gather fresh forces to strengthen their power ; 

Fierce cavaliers mounted on meteors appear, 

And artillery arm'd with terrors of air ; 

The growing battalions, rank pressing on rank, 

Stretch down from the hill to the wide river-bank, 

They cross the broad Shannon to Carrig's low plain, 

And seek to the Castle a passage to gain ; 

But the hosts of Knocfeirin — a deep, cloudy mass — 

In arms, have guarded each wing of the pass I 

To attack them the powers of Clan Cuilen prepare, 

And they hastily summoned a council of war ; 

On the tops of the reeds, in the moon's dewy light, 

They convened, and concocted the plan of the light ! 

The leaders' designs to the troops are convey 'd, — 

And a dash on the host of Knocfeirin is made ; 

Before them the foremost divisions retire — 

Then the furious artillery opened their fire, 

And the cavalry charged in a whirlwind of hail, 

And a fierce peal of thunder resounds thro' the vale ! 

The powers of Knocfeirin are shatter'd in twain, 

And a dark-rolling cloud bears them off from the plain; 

In lightning and whirlwind the victors pursue, 

And the route of the battle rolls on to Tirvoe ! 

The blast-stricken forest oaks crackle and groan, 

The elm is broken— the ash lies o'erthrown ! 

There's a pause in the tempest, a minute or more, 

As if gathering its breath, with more wrath than before, 

And a cloud, dark and angry, looms full on the view 

Towards the point, in the air, where the routed host flew — 

From distant Knoc Greine new forces arrive, t 

And fierce on the powers of Clan Cuilen they drive; 

In his chariot of meteors, the mighty King Donn 

Led the wild, stormy sweep of the battle charge on — 

Loud roar the hills, and the forests lie bare, 

As the cloud-cover'd combatants meet in the air, 

Some are tost to the ground — some are driven thro' the sky 

And the streaming mists burst where the broken ranks fly. 

Clan Cuilen is flying, in wrath and despair, 

And the dreadful route rolls towards the dark hills of Clare ! 

+h* I < 5. ia . 8 * ron g 1 y believed by the peasantry, that the Fairy government* of 
me adjoining counties sometimes disagree on some mysterious principles, 
and consequently th,e Fairy hosts, on both sides, get into furious conflicts? 

•coun^Limenck. 6, '* *' ™ ° f *" Sun ' ^^ 8reat fairy fortre88 > 



142 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The waves of the Shannon dance up from their bed 
Where the scatter'd hosts pass in a squall overhead ; 
Some to the deep woods of Cratloe repair, 
And hide their defeat in the gloomy shades there, 
Whilst others, more close by the enemy press'd, 
Plunge down to the river and lie on its breast. 

The victors triumphant to Carrig return — 
(Ah ! soon shall the bridegroom and bridal guests mourn), 
Round the Rock's mighty shadow, in silence they glide — 
Awaiting the signal to capture the Bride ! 

The dance and the song shake the canopied hall, 

And the fair Eveleen is the fairest of all, 

'Mid her train of young virgins, she beams on the sight, 

Like a May-rose surrounded by lilies of light! 

On her snow-neck of beauty her raven-locks stream, 

Like. a dark summer-cloud on the moon's silvery beam 

Steeping its folds in soft, lustrous whiteness, 

Half-shading, half-showing the beautiful brightness ! 

A circlet of diamonds emblazon'd her brow, 

Like dew on the flower of the sweet apple bough ; 

The spirit of loveliness beam'd in her face, 

With a soul-charming majesty lending its grace; 

And her red lips, when smiling, revealed to the sight 

A treasure of pearl that laughed at the light ! 

But a heavenlier beauty adorned her mind — 

To all she was gentle — to all she was kind ; 

For seraph-toned kindness and beauty's sweet power 

Live, brightly allied, like the sun and the flower ! 

She is up in the dance, and her small feet appear, 

Like two playful butterflies circling thro' air — 

So light does she tread that the gazers around 

Cannot see where her fairy foot touches the ground ! 

No echo awakes at the fall of her tread, 

And her shadow seems beating the floor in her stead ; 

As snow-flakes that float on the gale's breathing wing, 

Her glancing feet seem'd o'er the marble to sail, 
'Till the moisture gush'd out on her brow, glistening, 

Like honeydew fresh on the rose of the vale. 

'Mid the toasts and applause of the festival throng, 
Her lord led her out on the Rock's airy height — 
The May-moon thro' heaven was stealing along, 

Like a bright pearl-shield on the bosom of night ; 
Dark, silent, and solemn the woods lay at rest, 
Like large sable spots on the earth's yellow vest ; 
And the cold, sullen, distant hills seemed to declare, 
That no living beings, save spectres, were there! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. H3 

Round the Rock a deep ridge of white vapour was thrown, 
As if belting its shades with a huge silver zone ; 
And the stillness that wrapt the lone plains in its pall, 
Was lovely and soothing, but fearful withal — 
A weird, pensive solemness breathing alone, 
On the wrapt ear of fancy, a spiritual tone. 

The cold, mournful moonlight, calm, misty, and gray, 
Like a dim winding-sheet, on the ivied towers lay ; 
And each stone-shafted casement peered out in the light, 
From the dark coat of ivy that circled their white. 

But why clings Eveleen to the breast of her lord? 

What sight has she seen or what sound has she heard? 

'Tis the moan of the owl from yon mist-covered rock — 

'Tis the croak of the raven that sits on the oak — 

'Tis the whine of the wolf-hounds that crouch in the fern — 

'Tis the wail of the banshee that haunts the gray cairn — 

'Tis the tone of the harps from the banquet-hall, dying, 

Like a dirge for the dead in the lone churchyard sighing ! 

She throws her white arms the bridegroom around, 

But the bridegroom stands still, as if chained to the ground 

He shakes, like a young willow-tree in the gale — 

His eyes are distorted, his cheek has grown pale — 

"Oh ! hearest thou not that lamentable cry? 

'Tis the banshee bewailing some soul on the wing! 
Haste ! haste from this spot — to the hall let us fly, 

My heart's blood with terror is chilled in its spring!" 
Scarce had she spoken when round them was driven 

A dense cloud of gloom, like the rush of a river, 
As if the machine of refulgence in heaven 

Was suddenly dashed into darkness for ever ! 
" Oh God I " screamed the maid, in wild terror and wonder — 
And a weird laugh replied, like the echo of thunder — 
Her fear-fettered limbs lost all nerve to retreat, 
And her lord is struck powerless and pale at her feet ! 
A cold hand, unseen, on her bosom is laid, 

With a heart-chilling death-grip, resistless and strong, 
And rudely upswung o'er the Rock's giant-shade, 

Like a snow-flake in tempests, she's hurried along; 
Her bursting cries startled the night-shadows round — 
The echoes leaped out from their caves at the sound ; 
The owlet abandoned the turret-wall hoar,~ 
And the gray plover screamed, and flew off to the shore ; 
The wild cry of terror the banquet appals, 
And the bridesmaidens, shrieking, rush into the halls ! 

"Chiefs I chiefs!" Mac Con Mara, in agony, cried, 
Some dreadful mishap has befallen the bride ! 
Quick, quick to avenge her ! your broadswords are strong, 
And woe to the cause of the outrage or wrong !" 



i4 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



As rain-torrents down the gray mountain-rocks leaping, 
As hawks o'er the cloud-crested Cratloe woods sweeping, 
So rushed from the Castle the strength of its men, 
And followed the cries of the lost Eveleen ! 
Mac Con Mara was first, with his war-axe and spear, 
Like a bloodhound let loose on the track of a deer ; 
And lowland, and highland, and shrub-covered waste 
Are lost in the rush of his lightning-like haste. 
No longer they hear her faint screamings resound — 
They rush, all outrageous, and search all around, 
Till, cast on a crag where the fern was green, 
They found the remains of the lost Eveleen — 
Like a snow-ridge — when snow is dissolving away — 
In her white bridal-raiment cold, silent she lay ; 
Her hair in the rock-brier lay tangled and strewn — 
Her semblance was there but the maiden was gone ! 

Dimly the death-lights in Carrig are burning — 
Grimly the clansmen sit round, in their mourning ; 
Starkly the bride lies beneath the pall- cover, 
Darkly the banners of death hang above her ! 
Sadly the "keeners" the death-song are singing, 
Madly the matrons their pale hands are wringing; 
Lowly the harps' plaintive requiem is swelling, 
Slowly and solemn the death-bells are knelling; 
Restless and wild is the wail of the weeper, 
Listless and mild is the sleep of the sleeper ; 
Roundly the burning tears burst from hearts bleeding, 
Soundly sweet Eveleen slumbers unheeding — 
Grief reigns thro' the dwelling of proud Mac Con Mara — 
Chieftains and clansmen all weep with one sorrow ! 

And now the third morning arose on their mourning, 
And the sun on the wild, rolling Shannon is burning; 
Gently the tide, with a soft breeze, is trembling, 
And fast on the green shore the clans are assembling. 
A hundred light boats, on the stream's flowery margin, 
Await the slow bier of the young bridal-virgin ! 
Lo ! it comes — with the greatest and grandest attending, 
From the Rock's giant towers to the blue tide descending ; 
Around are her kinsmen, the proudest and oldest, 
And her pall is upheld by the bravest and boldest — 
Round her bier, in the dark badge of mourning all sullen, 
Droop'd the banner of Thomond and Flag of Clan Cuilen, 
While the breeze, in their folds, sung a dirge note of sorrow 
O'er the Swan of the Rock, Eveleen Ni Con Mara! 

O'er the grand, kingly Shannon the light boats are dashing, 
Brightly the oars in the sunlight are flashing, 
While the harps' solemn numbers and keeners' wild dirge, 
In beautiful sorrow, swell deep o'er the surge. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 145 

On Cratloe's wild shore the procession is landing, 
Where Thomond's tall chiefs to receive it are standing — 
The lord of Moyrisk, with his amber-haired daughters, 
And the gloomy-brow'd Chief of Cullane's fairy waters. 
Ennistymon's dread warrior, with gossips and kinsmen, 
Kilkishan's fierce champion, with allies and clansmen ; 
Corofin's lordly ruler, the generous and brave, 
And Cratloe's Chief, wild as a storm-tost^wave ! 
Many a fierce tribe and turbulent leader 
Whose head never bowed to the haughty invader — 
From Callan of storms to golden Kinkora — 
From Coonagh's green borders to dark Kilfenora — 
From wild Corcumroe to the blue hills of Ara — 
Now throng round thy bier, Eveleen Ni Con Mara ! 
Lightly their plumes on the May- wind are streaming, 
Brightly their cochals and goghals are gleaming ; 
In long, golden masses their cooluns are flowing, 
And the purest of gold on their garments is glowing ! 
Tall, comely and strong was each warrior's proportion, 
By Nature's hand knit, like the cliffs of the ocean ; 
The lightning of war in their proud eyes seem'd blazing, 
And majesty sat on their brows sternly pleasing ! 

Quietly to Croaghane* the funeral is wending, 
Whitely the plumes o'er the dark bier are bending ; 
Bow'd are the heads of the chieftains, slow pacing, 
Loud and melodious the " caoine " is increasing ; 
Thrilling it swells on the gale's pensive mildness, 
Filling the woods with its beautiful wildness — 
Now round the churchyard young Eveleen's borne, 
To the last resting-place of her mortal sojourn ; 
Weary their hands make the narrow grave ready, 
Dreary and deep is the bed of the lady ; 
Down in its gloom is the coffin laid lowly, 
And the brown clay is cast on its dark bosom slowly. 
The saintly priest offers the prayers for the dead — 
The requiem is sung and the solemn Mass said — 
The grave is closed up, and the crowd has departed, 
And the mountain- winds sigh o'er the sleeper deserted. 

Westward the sun in the red wave is drowning, 
Eastward the night's cloudy visage is frowning ; 
Day, on the mountain, his banner is furling, 
Gray from the fountain the light mists are curling. 
Maids in bright bands from the woodlands are pouring — 
Wreaths from white hands on the new grave are showering — 
Qh ! many a sweet bud, dew'd with hot tears of sorrow, 
Is strewn on thy grave, Eveleen Ni Con Mara ! 

* It was a favourite burial-place of the Clan Cuilen, eyen long beforp 
Quin Abbey was founded by a chief of the tribe. 



146 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

But the lore-loving Seanachie0 shake the gray head, 

And declare that a Fairy was left in her stead, 

For the lovely young bride by a wizard was seen 

On Knocfeirin's dark hill, with King Donn and his Queen.f 

CANTO II. 

In Carrig's gray Castle the. death- song has ceased, 
And the chiefs have retired from the funeral feast ; 
The wine-bowls are empty, the boards are undrest — 
Round the huge bogwood fire whisper inmate and guest. 
The clansmen repose on the rush-cover' d floor, 
The deer-hounds in idleness doze at the door ; 
The funeral flags in the great hall are hung, 
The chambers are silent, the harp is unstrung — 
The Seanachies, stretched on the lawn's grassy bed, 
Tell many a weird legend and tale of the dead ; 
And they whisper, in secret, how fair Eveleen, 
With the King of the hills, at Knocfeirin, was seen. 

In his state chamber sate the bereaved Mac Con Mara, 

Sternly wrapt in the deep, sullen gloom of his grief ; 
And, near on a couch, lay the proud Lord of Ara — 

Every feeling, but life, all extinct in the chief. 
And there, since the dark night of wonder and dread, 

Unconscious of being, the mighty one lay ; 
Strength, speech, sight, and all vital energy fled, 

Leaving nothing behind but the mere breathing clay. 
And the skill'd leech attends, but his skill hath no power 

To adjust the life-springs of the darken'd machine — 
Still and pulseless he lay, as a frost-bitten flower 

That the mild, dewy May-sun hath nourished in vain. 
On a silken-lined cushion, Mac Curtin the bard 

Of Clan Cuilen, sat close by the Lord of the Rock ; 
And he wept for the generous son of the sword 

That ne'er turned back from the battle's red shock. 

But he bent towards his master and spoke in his ear, 

And the Chief's haughty brow blazed with ire, as he spoke, 
And he writhed, as if an assassin drew near, 

And gave his proud bosom a death-dealing stroke. 
"Then who," said the Chief, while his eyes shot a flame, 

" Saw my Swan of Clan Cuilen at cloudy Knocfeirin ? 
By the great Loghlin Laidir^ but tell me his name, 

And, whoever he be, I'll pursue him through Erin !" 

* Historians or story-tellers, Every family of note had its Seanachie. 

+ Donn Fearneach, the Fairy King of Monster, is supposed to hold 'his 
court at Knocfeirin, in the county Limerick. 

% Loghlin Laidir, i.e., the strong Mac Namara, was Prince of Clan Cuilen 
in the fourteenth century. «He was styled the Hercules of Thomond, Tra- 
dition relates that no man of the Dalgais of his time was able to poise his 
Spear, Afield his battle-axe, or wear his armour. Quin Abbey was founded 
by one of bis sons in 1402. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 147 

" 'Twas Horan, the Wizard !" Mac Curtin replied, 
"Who knows all the mysteries of Fairyland well ; 

He dwells by the wild banks of Maige's foamy tide, — 
Bring him here, and the tale he'll not falter to tell !" 

The Wizard was brought to the great Castle-hall — 

Weird was his aspect and gloomy his eye ; 
Like the hill's blasted pine-shaft, his figure was tall, 

But thin as the arm of a cloud in the sky — 
"What of my daughter?" the angry Chief cried, 

Or how has this wild Fairy fiction gone out ? 
Tell me, dark Wizard of Maige's woody side, 

Did the many-hued story proceed from thy mouth ? " 
" Proud Lord !" said the Spellman. " I'm author of all 

Thou hast heard of thy snow-bosom'd child, Eveleen ? 
'Twas but yester-eve, as the night's solemn fall 

Spread its mantle of shadows, thy daughter was seen ! " 
"Where, and by whom?" said the Chief, growing kind, 

While the big tear extinguish'd the fire of his glance ; 
"By me, at Knocfeirin !" the Wizard rejoin'd, 

" I saw her trip light, with King Donn, in the dance !" 

A chill shudder ran thro' the warrior's frame, 

He bent his proud head, like an oak in the wind, 
And his soul thro' his eyes seem'd to leap in a stream 

That burn'd a track on the cheek where it shined. — 
" Man of dark Spirit-lore ! tell me all that thou know'st !" 

Said the Chief, ' ' and I swear by the steel of my sword ! 
That, for all the knowledge thou kindly bestow'st, 

Half my lands and my treasure shall be thy reward ! " 
" Thy lands nor thy treasure I dare not accept, 

Else ruin w T ere mine ! " said the Wizard of lore ; 
" But the secret I'll tell thee, with faith must be kept, 

'Till the tenth starry night of the Maytime be o'er ! 

" I sat on the crest of the cairn of Knoc Rue — 

The pearl-edged moon, in her night-walk, look'd stilly 
On the black firs that peep'd from their couches of dew, 

Thro' the mist's floating silver that curtain'd the hill — 
And I saw in the blue west a blood-colour'd cloud 

That assumed the dimensions and state of a car, 
Such as Conn of the Battles, triumphant and proud, 

Drove to Asoil begirt with the terrors of war ! 
And in moonlight array, from the east to the west, 

Tall horsemen and footmen troop'd swift thro' the air^ 
And I scann'd the cloud-chariot around which they press'd, 1 

And I saw Eveleen with the Fairy King there ! 
Then I gather'd the seed of the hill-fern green,* 

And proceeded, at once, to Knocfeirin's Air-Towers, • 

* It is superstitiously believed that any person who is lucky enough to 
find the fern-seed, can possess the power qf making himself invisible. 



148 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And there, in my mantle of magic unseen, 

I watch'd the descent of the great Fairy powers ! 
On the hill they alighted, more numerous than leaves 

In sylvan Adare of the silver-toned flood ! 
When the chill, dreary blast of October's bleak eves 

Sweeps them out from the deep, golden heart of the wood ! 
Eveleen was received by three hundred white maids, 

Whose lily-cheeks look'd, in the moon's pensive beam, 
Like mushrooms seen 'mid the dewy grass-blades, 

When Autumn is kindling the clouds into flame ! 
And they held in their hands jewell'd vases of flowers, 

Blue-bells and snow-drops, and crimson lusmore, 
Which they wantonly scatter'd, in glittering showers, 

On Eveleen's way to the grand palace-door ! 
The King took her arm, and led her along, 

And she stepp'd with such ease on the bright flowery bed, 
Her foot-fall seem'd breathing a low, moonlight song, 

And no blossom was broken nor crush'd by her tread ! 
Oh ! had you but seen her high look, at that hour, 

With her locks, like a spring-cloud of splendour, uncurl'd, 
You'd say that her eyes had some meaning of power 

To command the great tribes of the bright Fairy world ! 
She was led to the high Airy Chamber of State, 

Where the wond'rous gems of a thousand mines shone ; 
Which seem'd a compound of light, beauty, and heat, 

Created to brighten some sphere of their own ! 
Young suns seem'd to burn on the rich sapphire-walls, 

Where the wonders of God's great Creation flash'd bright — 
Within the small space of the azure-roof 'd halls 

Countless worlds, contracted, blazed out on the sight ! 
A miniature universe, awfully grand, 

Shone radiant in dreamy magnificence there ; 
As if the Great Architect's world-making hand 

Sketch'd his works, in one picture, and hung them in air ! 
In the midst stood a throne so resplendent, that all 

The starbeams of heaven seem'd blended in one 
Brilliant structure of glory, and set in the hall, 

To rival, in beauty and brightness, the sun ! 
Joy beam'd in the mild face of sweet Eveleen, 

When she saw white-wing'd spirits around in its beams ; 
Like heavenly things in her infancy seen, 

At midnight, when angels were painting her dreams I 

" She mounted the throne amid wild acclamation, 

And sounding of "crotels" and pealing of bells, 
And waving of garlands, whose floral carnation 

Was fresh with the spring-drops of heaven's pure wells ! 
And a myriad lamps made of the essence of light, 

O'er her lily-head form'd a rainbow-hued zone ; 
Like a diadem of white stars encircling the night, 

When crimson-cheek 'd eve falls asleep on its throne 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 149 

The floor of the rich hall was sanded with gold, 

And its canopy beam'd, like the new crescent-moon, 
With amber-hued mists round her yellow face roll'd, 

On the verge of the planet-gemm'd night-sky of June ! 
And I saw the Ard Fileas of puissant King Donn, 

With their minstrel-band, in rich costume of green, 
Strike their bright-jewell'd clarseachs before the high throne, 

Sweetly singing, *' All hail to Knockfeirin's new Queen I " 
Of all the wild melody ever was known 

To pour on the soul of a mortal its spelL— 
Chaining all the hot fountains of life in its tone- 
That night, on my ear the most rapturous fell ! 
I have oft heard those harps in the woods of Adare, 

When sunset's red pencil was painting the sky, 
And the liquid perfumes of the rich summer-air 

Seem'd floating in song on the gale's honied sigh ! 
I've heard them by moonlight in leafy Tirvoe, 

Breathing their notes in the vernal retreats 
Where maiden-flowers open their hearts to the dew, 

And give in return a tribute of sweets ! 
But never, Chieftain, did mortal or spirit 

Hear such music as greeted thy child, Eveleen ! 
And only my ear was accustomed to hear it, 

I never — oh ! never would hear it again ! 
The King is so proud of his beautiful prize, 

That, each eve when the Day God's red glory goes down, 
And the last aerial rose-blush departs from the skies, 

He takes her to dance on the mountain's blue crown ! 
But Mava, the partner and Queen of his reign, 

Has deserted the court, with wild jealousy fired, 
She pass'd, in dark mist, from the hill to the plain, 

And to steepy Knoc Greine, in a w T hirlwind, retired ! 
She is gone on a mission of vengeance, and soon 

Knocfeirin shall witness division and spleen, 
For half the great tribes that acknowledge King Donn, 

Will rebel, and espouse the just cause of his Queen ! 
And the Fays of Clan Cuilen are biding the hour 

To retrieve their lost prestige and rescue the maid ! 
One stroke is sufficient to shatter his power, 

And restore thy fair child to thy roof's honour'd shade ! 
And now to confirm all that I declare, 

Let the grave be reopened, and then shall be seen 
Wither'd fern and broom, in the coffin laid there, 

Instead of the corpse of the fair Eveleen I" 



Like one agonized in some terrible dream, 
The Lord of the Rock heard the wonderful tale ; 

Dark clouds on his angry face vanish'd and came, 
Like storm-mist passing a bleak winter-vale, 



150 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND 

'Till the tempest of passion, that gathered so long, 

In his burning heart, burst in a whirlwind of ire ; 
Each rising vein peer'd thro' his neck, like a thong, 

And he look'd as if changed to a demon of fire : . 
" Eveleen ! Eveleen !" in wild frenzy he roar'd, 

While the hissing foam burst in white flakes from his lip, 
And hung in a mass on his brown, wavy beard, 

Like spray on the prow of a wave-beaten ship ; 
"My child! my white Swan ! oh ! by heaven — my sword — 

I'll go to Knocfeirin, nor demon nor Dane 
Shall save the base King, 'mid his wild Fairy-horde, 

And I'll root his curst hill from the top to the plain ! 
My daughter, thou darling young dove of my heart ! 

My lily of brightness ! my glory ! my boast ! 
I'll pursue thee and find thee, wherever thou art, 

Tho' a thousand brave lives in thy rescue were lost ! ' 

As the hurricane clutches a weak willow wand, 

He snatch'd a huge gold-hilted sword from the wall 
And, whirling the quick -flashing steel in his hand, 

He leap'd, with a shout, to the door of the hall ! 
The stunn'd menials flew in amaze and alarm — 

The matrons, half-fainting, knelt sudden to pray — 
As before the fierce sweep of his foot and his arm, 

Each thing that opposed him was brushed from his way ; 
Mac Curtin rush'd forward, all reckless of harm, 

In the path of his master his person he flung, 
And fixed as a tree clings to earth in a storm, 

To the breast of the wild-raging chieftain he clung. 

"My Lord! my Protector ! thou noblest and best 

Of the sons of Clan Cuilen, the flower of our Isle! 
Oh ! quench this hot furnace of wrath in thy breast, 

And listen to wisdom and reason awhile ! 
Bright head in the council, strong hand in the field ! 

Flower of stainless repute in the garland of fame ! 
No boon to thy Bard thou refuseth to yield, 

Since a child to thy high, honour 'd mansion I came ! 
I've lull'd thee to slumber, with legend and lay, 

At thy side, in the hall and the camp, was my place ! 
Thy chivalrous deeds were my theme, night and day, 

'Till the Lords of Mononia all envied thy praise ! 
Oh ! hear my entreaty, brave heart and high head ! 

Be the brain-scorching fire of thy passion resigned ! ' 
Let it not in the halls of a Norman be said 

That the Lord of the Rock went to war with the wind ! 
If thy fair Swan of whiteness can e'er be restored, 

Thy rage will but ruin her chance of release ! 
'Twere wilder than madness to lift thy vain sword 

Against the strong, bodiless Spirits of space!" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 151 

The furious Chief heard, and stared vacantly round, 
And his dark face assumed an expression more mild ; 

He dash'd by the falchion, and sank to the ground — 
The lion was changed to a weak, sobbing child. 

Tall Horan went forth to the heart of the wood, 

And pull'd three green herbs, in the Fairy Queen's name, 
And a smile on his desolate brow boded good, 

As back to the couch of O'Brien he came ; 
In his thin, bony hands the soft leaflets he bruised, 

'Till their drops in the press of his palms became warm ; 
In the Chief's ears and eyes the sour juice he infused, 

And mutter'd, in silence, some spell-breaking charm ; 
Slowly the eyes of the warrior unclosed — 

To a sitting position he 'rose on the bed, 
But sunk back again, in deep slumber composed, 

Assuming the white-rigid look of the dead. 

" Soon the hour shall arrive !" said the Master of Spells, 

" When the dark Powers of Air from their thrones shall be 
shaken, 
Then the bride shall escape from the King of the hills, 

And then — not 'till then — shall the bridegroom awaken ! 
Now gather bright wreaths to adorn his pillow — 

Let the chamber be drest in the dark pomp of death ! 
Bring the scarlet " lusmore "* from the marge of the billow — 

Bring each dew-spangled bud from the moorland and heath!" 

And now the tenth night of the flowery-faced May, 

Round the blue hills in silent sublimity lay ; 

And star wink'd at star in the azure abode, 

As Earth wept in dreams at the feet of her God. 

Heaven's bosom with all its vast jewell'ry blazed, 

And in wrapt adoration the mountains seem'd raised ; 

In breathless delight wind and water stood still, 

And the clouds, in white ringlets, lay close on the hill. 

The spirit of silence round Carrig's dark walls 

Is asleep, for no harp song is heard in the halls, 

Tho' the chambers are lighted as brightly as when 

Clan Cuilen's high chivalry feasted within. 

The bolts of the great Castle-door are withdrawn, 

And two lofty figures stepp'd out on the lawn ; 

One is tall Horan, the wizard of power, 

And one is MacCurtin the Bard of the tower ! 

Thro' the mist-cover'd woods their dark journey they take, 

Towards the wild, gloomy hill of the cloud- curtain' d peak, 

Knocfeirin of dark. Fairy legions and spells, 

Where awful King Donn in his Air-Palace dwells ! 

* "Lusmore," the great Fairy herb. 



152 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

They arrived at the grove-belted base of the mount, 
Where fresh from its rocky heart danced a young fount ; 
The cean-a-bhans dotted its banks, with their snow, 
And the water-cress drank of its crystal below ; 
The tall, nodding fox-glove and red-headed broom, 
In its dreamy wave mirror'd their crownlets of bloom ; 
And the wild brier, with delicate blossoms all white, 
Richly sweeten'd the calm spirit-breathings of night. 

In the vale where the gray Druids worshipped of old — 

But the stones of their altar lay mixed with the mould, 

And the oaks that grew round it were blasted and gone, 

Tho' their roots in the hoary soil still lingered on, 

There, on a jagg'd rock, with deep-yellow moss crown'd, 

Sat the raven-hair'd Wizard in silence profound ; 

And he look'd to the north where the dim streamers blazed, 

And then to the west's starry portals he gazed. 

The horn of the waning moon, dismal and dim, 

Through the gather' d mist, gleamed on the horizon's rim ; 

Two red starry gems o'er her silver head burned, 

And her white, weeping face from the earth was half -turned ! 

The pale Wizard watched her slow march in the sky, 

And beckoned the wondering Bard to come nigh, 

As thrice to the zenith he pointed his hand, 

And circled the spot, with his spell-working wand. 

"There are signs in the heavens of coming dismay — 

There are omens on earth of a Spirit-affray ! 

The stars, o'er yon mountain, are quench'd one by one, 

And the genius of rest from the waters is gone ! 

In the north's ambient fields the pale meteors shoot brighter, 

In the east's lurid sky the white moon waxes whiter ! 

The south holds the fire-fiend asleep in its breast, 

And a black-bosom'd cloud-world floats in the west ! 

It bodes to the Air-King affliction and sorrow, 

And triumph and joy to thy house, Mac Con Mara !" 

As the Wizard thus spoke, a grim raven flew round 

An old pine that tempests half-cast from its mound ; 

Three times o'er the gray Druid-circle he flew, 

And then to the shade of the old pine withdrew ; 

In his black beak he carried a murderer's bone, 

Bleached fleshless and white as a summer brook-stone ; 

" 'Tis the bird of Queen Mave !" said the Wizard upspringing, 

" A token of wrath to this Fairy hill bringing ! 

And in that dark signal I read and can see 

That mischief and evil shall fall upon me ! 

Now, child of the harp, thou wilt see in the skies, 

A sight that shall freeze the blue wells of thine eyes ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 153 

But quail not, Bard ! thou hast nothing to fear, 
Nor danger nor evil can come to thee here t 
Be a watchful spectator of all that goes on— 
The veil of the ghost-world now is withdrawn!** 

They look'd towards Knoc-Greine — a red cloud was there, 

Like an uplifted slaughter-field hanging in air ; 

And lurid-edged lines spread their fringes on high, 

Like a network of crimson and gold in the sky ; 

And behind, in the thick, dingy scud of the south, 

The engines of warfare glared fearfully out 

Where the wings of a mighty host, marshalled for fight, 

Through the haze-fields of heaven, marched swiftly and 

bright, 
The shrill clang of steel to fierce music was ringing, 
As if the big thunder a war-song was singing ; 
While the vanishing stars seemed to run from their place, 
And hide farther up in the temples of space ! 

O'er the hills of green Thomond dark shapes 'rose and grew, 

Like air-cities sketched on a ground-work of blue ; 

With mist-spectres set on their vapoury walls, 

Floating on, towards Knocfeirin, thro' heaven's veiled halls. 

Sudden the fire-flashing terrors they nurst, 

Like a volcanic blaze, from their cloud-castles burst — 

A moment the firmament broke into light, 

As if day had leaped into the dark lap of night. 



The dawn's yellow glory was bursting on Ara, 
And gilding the highlands of wild Glenomara ; 
And gemming the bosom of Shannon's great river, 
That in music and majesty rushes for ever : 
On Cratloe's bleak hills the blue night-shadow hover'd — 
And their green zones of wood with its darkness were cover'd- 
From Coonagh's broad marshes the winding mists flew, 
And shook in the cool air their ringlets of dew ; 
Each star, by degrees, shut its cold, sleepy eye, 
As the purple-winged daylight stole into the sky ; 
A soft, dusky radiance o'er Nature was gleaming, 
Like the first-born light on the new world beaming 
When the Lord fused the power of his word into one 
Radiant sphere of effulgence, and call'd it the Sun ! 
From gloomy Camailte the eagle was winging, 
Thro' amber-fringed curtains of ether upspringing, 
And scattering the haze, in the pride of his flight, 
Where the thunder-fiend groan'd on a cloud-couch all night. 
Sweet honeydew breathings pervaded the air, 
From bowery Tirvoe to romantic Adare ; 
And night, with its phantoms, and shadows, and dreams, 
Made a lazy retreat from day's gold-shafted beams. 
11 



154 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Who moves, like a dew-mist, on Carrig's gray lawn, 

And glides thro' the deep, silvery shade of the towers ? 
Like a spirit of dreams, 'mid the silence of dawn, 

Floating over the green-pillow'd sleep of the flowers ! 
'Tis the Swan of Clan Cuilen— the snow- handed bride 

Of the chieftain of Ara, the lofty and grand ; 
In her wild, queenly brightness of beauty and pride, 

She returns, like a moonbeam, from gay Fairyland. 
And her eye hath a clearer and lovelier light, 

And her cheek hath a fresher and livelier red ; 
And her locks seem, as if the dark shadows of night 

Were spun into substance and placed on her head. 
She gazes around, in the wildest surprise, 

And speaks to her soul, in soliloquy deep, 
Like one that hath open'd her wondering eyes 

From the spell of some vision that charm'd her sleep. 
" Where art thou, my lord, and where art thou, my sire ? 

Oh ! why have you fled from your Eveleen's side ? 
And where are the guests, and the banquet, and lyre, 

That lately rejoiced in the home of the bride? 
A vision came o'er me, enchantingly sweet — 

I dreamt I was queen of a kingdom unknown, 
Where the homage of millions was paid at my feet, 

But here I've 'wakened, deserted and lone ! 
'Twas a halo of magic — an essence of joy — 

That sunn'd, for a moment, my soul with its light ! 
'Twas the summer-lit glory of sleep's phantom sky 

Showing bright angel-pictures of bliss to my sight ! " 

With a step, like the May breeze, she flew to the hall, 

And enter'd a chamber, with flowery wreaths spread ; 
There, wrapt in the shade of a sable-fringed pall, 

The proud Lord of Ara lay seemingly dead. 
A chill dimness swam o'er her eye's azure beam, 

And darken'd the high marble arch of her brow ; 
She stood — as if life had suspended its stream — 

Cold, silent and white as a statue of snow. 
Then, with sudden emotion, she stoop'd o'er the pall, 

And her locks flung their shadowy rings on the shroud ; 
Like the half-darkened beams of the moon when they fall 

On the soft, shining folds of a white winter-cloud — 
Her chain'd spirit broke from its freezing eclipse, 

And her eyes gleam'd, like stars on a dark night of rain— 
Her soul in wild melody rush'd to her lips, 

And melted away in a beautiful caoine. 

Her Death-Song. 
' ' Shall the cold, dreary tomb 

Be the place of thy bridal ? 
Did death steal the bloom 

From the cheek of my Idol ? 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 155 

Have I dreamt but of joy, 

And awaken'd to sorrow ? 
Did the fountain run dry, 

That gave beauty to Axa ? 

My heaven is shaded — 

My spring-flowers are blasted ! 
My summer is faded 

Ere its May sweets were tasted ! 
The Flower of thy hall, 

And thy stem, Mac Con Mara, 
Shall wither and fall 

With the King-Tree of Ara ! 

Has the Norman drank deep 

At the life of our Nation ? 
Since there's none here to weep 

For my comely Dalcassian I 
Oh ! the black frost of grief 

Has pierced into my marrow, 
O'er the corpse of the chief 

That gave glory to Ara ! 

How bright was the wave 

Of thy sunny locks round thee, 
When the eyes of the brave, 

In the battle-van found thee ! 
And quick was thy spear, 

'Mid the combat's wild farrah, 
As the eagle's career 

When he sweeps over Ara ! 

Oh ! thy white foot was swift, 

As the North- wind bestriding 
The gloomy hill-drift 

Where the cloud-ghosts are gliding ! 
And no chief in the land, 

From green Thomond to Tara, • 
Could measure his brand 

With my eagle of Ara ! 

Thy love-looks I felt 

In the veins of my bosom ! 
Like the spring-dews that melt 

In the heart of the blossom ! 
I slighted, for thee, 

The high prince of Clan Carrha ! 
And you, Love ! for me, 

The whit© queen of Glenara! 



156 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Mighty pillar of swords — 

Falcon-eyed ! regal-hearted ! 
Gentle mouth of sweet words — 

Has thy music departed ? 
The woods shall grow bright 

In the gold of the morrow, 
But the sun hath no light 

For my Idol of Ara ! 

Oh ! brightness and joy 

Of my spirit, awaken ! 
Why did'st thou die, Love ! 

And leave me forsaken ? 
I'll go to the gloom 

Of thy bed deep and narrow ! 
Let ours be one tomb, 

In Clan Cuilen or Ara ! 

I'm left, like a ship 

In a desolate haven, 
To murmur and weep 

For my glory bereaven ! 
No kind ray to cross 

The bleak waste of my sorrow, 
Or lighten the loss 

Of my sunbeam of Ara ! 

Come, clouds of the sky 

With your downy-wing'd whiteness ! 
Come, sun-rays that lie 

In yon mansion of brightness ! 
Come breezes that play 

In the vales green and narrow ! 
Bear my spirit away 

To my loved one of Ara !" 

The weird harp-like tone of her wild requiem broke 

The spell of his trance, and the sleeper awoke ; 

To his lips, eyes, and cheeks, life's meridian returned, 

And his blood, like loosed streams, thro' its hot channels 

burn'd. 
Brighter and brighter his countenance grows, 
Lighter and lighter his breath comes and goes ; 
Nearer and nearer his reason floats back, 
Clearer and clearer it shines on its track — 
Life shoots through his frame — like a working machine, 
When all its strong parts in full action are seen — 
And the mind, to her functions upspringing within, 
Arranged her bright web of ideas again. 
With uplifted hands, Eveleen felt amazed, 
Starting back from the couch, in dumb wonder she gazed, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 1§7 

While the haughty chief looked on the pall and the shroud, 
And sprung from his coverings, and muttered aloud, 
' * What means this false show, that around me appears, 
As if death has been mocked, and my lady in tears ? 
By the Spirit of Heber ! I'll wreck my hot ire, 
On the author of this, if it were thy proud sire ! 
A prank has been played, and by heavens, he'll see 
That he knew not his man when he practised on me ! 
Believe it, his humour may have a red end, 
If such be the honours he pays to a friend ! " 

But now the great hall of the tower was alive, 

With the echoes of life, like the hum of a hive ; 

The inmates half dressed, in wild haste and dismay, 

Repaired to the room where the mimic corpse lay. 

The Lord of the Rock was the first to rush in, 

And clasp to his bosom the bright Eveleen, 

Delirious with transport, he vented a cry, 

As he kissed her, all trembling with passionate joy. 

Such a wild scene of giddy excitement appeared — 

Such loud exclamations of rapture were heard — 

The proud Lord of Ara, bewildered, looked on, 

And thought that the thread of their reason was gone. 

Pale-faced Eveleen, as if solving a doubt, 

Gazed around on the scene, with her heart in her mouth, 

And she drew her white fingers, in speechless surprise, 

O'er her brow, as if clearing a spell from her eyes ! 

O'Brien glanced thrice o'er the group and the pall, 

And rushed, with an oath, from the room to the hall ; 

"By the blood of Clontarf, they have broken away 

From all reason, and I am the fool of the play ! 

Good heavens ! what jests upon honour they keep, 

To make a buffoon of a prince in his sleep ! 

Ho ! bring me my chariot — I'll off to my court, 

And never revisit this bedlam of sport ! " 

Mac Con Mara flew after the chief to the gate, 

And drew him aside to a shady retreat — 

Unravelled each thread of the story's dark clue, 

And the chiefs, reconciled, to the Castle withdrew ; 

He called on the swiftest and best of his clan, 

And issued an order to every man, 

"Fly quick to green Thomond, o'er valley and dale 

Ere the sunbeams have melted the silver of morn ! 
Go to the proud ladies and lords of Clan Tail, 

And tell them the news of my daughter's return !" 
They obey'd, and before the red evening withdrew 
Its drapery of gold from the woods of Tirvoe, 
The high halls of Carrig resounded aloud, 
With the voices and steps of the mighty and proud. 
Care fled from the Castle — joy swam in the bowl — 



158 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TH6M0ND. 

Like a May-morning song was the mirth of each soul ; 
The harp, so long silent, now flung from its strings 
The glories of Erin's high Chieftains and Kings ! 
The wine- wasting revelry lasted five days, 
And five nights the tall ramparts all seem'd in a blaze ; 
The gates were thrown open — full tables for all, 
Strangers and strollers, were placed in the hall — 
Such roasting of sirloins — such slaughtering of kine — 
Such breaking of bread and such drinking of wine — 
Was never yet seen since the days when King Brian 
Feasted all the descendants* of great Heber Fionn. 

And now the fifth sun on the golden hills burn'd, 

Since sweet Eveleen from Knocfeirin return'd — 

On the lawn of the Castle the chieftains appear, 

Prepared for the chase of the wolf and the deer ; 

Spear, cutlass, and dagger, and wild hunting horn, 

Skein, arrow and bow, from the fortress are borne ; 

Deerhound and wolfdog bound, snuffing the gale, 

And the slender-limb'd steeds prance with joy in the vale. 

The ladies are there, in their hunting array, 

To follow their lords in the sport of the day ; 

Each high-born dame her white palfrey rein'd — 

But the gentle-soul' d bride at the Castle remain'd ; 

She thought of the sick and the coldly-lodged poor, 

As she stood, like an angel of love, at the door, 

And kiss'd her small hand to betoken farewell 

To the gay-laughing group as they rode down the hill. 

Then she call'd her attendants, in number a score, 

And exhausted the treasured-up wealth of her store, 

And order'd each servant a portion to take 

To the orphan, the widow, the sick and the weak — 

Wheaten flour, cleanly sifted, sweet flavoured and fine, 

Gold, silver, and garments, beef, mutton, and wine ; 

On three ample cars the rich presents were laid, 

And safe to the homes of the lowly conveyed. 

Oh ! what a sweet radiance of happiness play'd 

In the bright seraph-face of the kind-hearted maid, 

As she tripp'd to her bridal-room, warbling a song, 

And plied her light work, all the summer day long. 

'Tis eve, and the deep-yellow breast of the glade, 

Is barr'd with the splendour of sunshine and shade ; 

And the calm, hazy gold of the verdure slid on, 

As the shadow stole into the place of the sun. 

The chase-wearied lords from the wild-woods arrive — 

Up the steep plain of Carrig, like whirlwinds, they drive, 

* At the coronation feast of Brian Boru, two thousand of the nobility of 
Munster sat to dine in the great banquet-hall of th,e Palace of Kinkora »— 
Tradition. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 159 

All reckless they gallop o'er brushwood and stone, 

As if striving to break their steeds' necks or their own ; 

The ladies rein'd up and fell back to the rere, 

And their light, silvery laugh made love to the air ; 

When they saw the gay heiress of rich Corofin, 

Whip her steed up the rough steep, outstripping the men. 

On the lawn they dismount, and well pleased, turn round, 

To assist the fair dames to alight on the ground — 

To partake of the banquet they hurry away, 

Discussing the sportive events of the day. 

When the gray twilight ushered the night's starry fall, 

A hundred lights flamed in the great Castle hall, 

And the echoes of mirth and wild music peal'd out 

On the sweet, summer night-airs slow roving about. 

Round the boards, richly laden, the guests took their place, 

With the spirit of pleasure enthroned on each face ; 

Robes sparkled, with gems, like rich star-gilded skies, 

And eyes telegraphed the soul's language to eyes. 

In a chair of bright silver sat fair Eveleen, 

Her proud, lordly sire and her husband between ; 

And Mac Curtin sat near, by the side of his lord, 

Quaffing deep of the wine-flood that foamed on the board ! 

" Come, Bard of my house !"* said the chief of the feast, 

" Strike thy clarseach, and fling us a song from its wire ! 

Let it be the Eoss Catha^ and play it with haste, 

'Till our souls, like dry wood, catch the blaze of its fire ! 

Or rather relate how my white-bosomed Swan 

Was rescued and saved from the dark Fairy throng ! 
Come, weave the wild story — a wonderful one — 

And spangle its web with the flowers of thy song !" 
The Bard paused, awhile, o'er his instrument grand, 

Like a spirit of melody born of its frame, 
And his kindling eye gleamed, like the point of a brand, 

As he touched the bright cords with the fire of his theme. 
First came a sweet prelude, then note after note, 

In melting vibration, harmoniously rung, 
'Till the harp and his voice through the hall seem'd to float, 

In a double-toned strain, as the gifted one sung ; 

* There were many of the Mac Curtins, Bards of Clare, and attached to 
the MacNamaras, O'Briens, and other distinguished families in Thomond. 
The Mac Donnells of Kilkee and Killone were also very conspicuous in patron- 
izing those native Sons of Song. 

t Pronounced Ross Caha, i. e., " Eye of Battle," an inspiring martial 
tune played by the minstrels of ancient Erin. 



160 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



Mac Curtirfs description of the Fairy Battle fought at 
Knocfeirin, for Eveleen. 

I stood on a mound by a stream's wild sound — 

Knocfeirin 'rose darkly before me ! 
And the lightning's blaze fired the dingy haze 

That shadowed the star-fields o'er me ! 
And I saw, 'mid the shrouds of the torn clouds, 

War-phantoms tremendously riding 
In burning cars, like meteor-stars 

O'er the wreck of a universe gliding ! 

And their steeds flash'd on, as if every one 

In harness of fire was tighten'd, 
And their flaming might, like a river of light, 

The hall of the angels brighten'd ; 
For their panoply shone, like fire-sheets thrown 

From the throat of a plague-cloud horrid ; 
And each awful plume seem'd to shake the gloom 

Of the grave on the wearer's forehead ! 

The gleaming forms, in countless swarms, 

Were iflingling hither and thither, 
As if to 6n% place in the bosom of space 

All the planets were rushing together ; 
And a deadly noise fill'd the moaning skies, 

Like a battle-field's dread commotion, 
Or the angry roar of a thunder-shower, 

When it leaps on the dancing ocean ! 

The moon look'd back on the gathering wreck, 

And swoon'd on a vapoury pillow — 
Like the sea-bird white, when with sudden fright, 

It dives in the tumbling billow — 
For she wrapt her head in a floating shade, 

And threw off the star-zone that bound her, 
And quench'd in the damp her dusky lamp, 

Leaving heaven in darkness 'round her ! 

A yellow cloud fell near the haunted hill, 

The grove with its dim haze lining, 
As if some Sprite, in his hasty flight, 

Dropp'd his robe on their green tops shining ! 
And from the fold of its swimming gold, 

Queen Mave, in her glory appearing, 
Stood forth and gazed where the fire-flags blazed 

On the crown of the dark Knocfeirin ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 161 

Her garment glow'd, like a sun-barr'd cloud 

On the young blush of morning tender, 
When the snow- spirit spreads on the hills' white heads, 

The wings of his wintry splendour ! 
And her eye, like a well in a haunted dell, 

Flash'd with a brightness all-seeing, 
And eternity's dreams were alive in its beams 

Reflecting her grandeur of being ! 

The future and past on her brow were cast 

In a halo of meditation, 
Like an angel's thought embodied and wrought 

Into beautiful contemplation, 
For her dim face seem'd as if she dream'd 

Of some earthly, perishing grandeur, 
As she paused, like a ray that had gone astray 

From some heavenly world beyond her ! 

The Wizard stepped out in the vale's green mouth, 

And fell on the plain to adore her ; 
And he pray'd a prayer, on the cold sward there, 

In prostrate homage before her : 
" Resplendent Flower of ethereal power ! 

In beauty and glory excelling 
The sun-star's sheen on the blazing plain 

Of the Maker's infinite dwelling ! 

"Attend my prayer, bright daughter of Air ! 

Be thy queenly resentment disarm'd ! 
And return again the fair Eveleen, 

To the house of her father unharm'd ! 
Let not the gall of thine anger fall 

On a blossom so lovely and tender ! 
Oh ! do not harm one radiant charm, 

But graciously deign to defend her ! " 

She raised her hand, with a gesture grand, 

And flung back her tresses bright'ning 
The silvery glow of her neck's smooth snow — 

Like a stream of autumnal lightning ! 
While her twilight-face a shadowy trace 

Of benevolent thought discloses, 
As when Spring appears, shedding night-fall tears, 

O'er the couch of her early roses ! 

She shot thro' the night, and the woods grew bright 
Where she pass'd o'er their dancing bowers, 

Like a spirit of day, on a showery ray, 
Bringing light to the dreaming flowers. 



162 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And the plain of shade where the Wizard pray'd, 
For a moment, grew radiant and sunny ; 

And the mist that lay on the grove-tops gray, 
Dissolved in a dew-fall of honey ! 

Then the cloudy vest of the hill's huge breast 

Was suddenly dash'd asunder, 
Wide opening a gap in its sable lap 

For the birth of the coming thunder ; 
And I saw King Donn, like a darken'd sun, 

His army of terrors preparing 
To hold his own, and defend his throne, 

On the summit of wild Knocf eirin ! 

And above, as far as the farthest star, 

The hosts of his foes were gather'd — 
Thick as the snow when the woods below 

With its fallen flakes are feather' d — 
And down they came in a column of flame, 

And the back of a hurricane bore it, 
As if heaven's blue floor, with a mighty roar, 

Fell and drove them to earth before it ! 

The horsemen swept in the van, and leapt 

O'er the couch of the raving thunder ; 
And the lightning fled from its flaming bed, 

In a dance thro' the dark woods under ! 
While the slogan-note of its parent's throat, 

Shook heaven and made earth rattle ; 
And its fiery flags split the bursting crags, 

In the sweep of their burning battle ! 

Then I saw in fierce fight, 'mid the winged light, 

The terrible Spirit-hosts toiling, 
And the clash, and the clang of their onset rang, 

Like a sea o'er an earthquake boiling ! 
Sound struck sound thro' the sky around, 

And the sky to the earth seem'd to rain them, 
For their echoes fell, with an angry yell, 

As if space had no room to contain them. 

The heath was burned, and the groves o'erturned, 

Where the flame-shod steeds were dashing, 
And each chariot swung, like a meteor hung 

On wings, o'er the black waste flashing, 
For each bright wheel spun, like a flying sun 

Thro' an abyss of shadows diving, 
While the vanquish'd wind paused, and cough'd behind, 

Outstripp'd by their headlong driving! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 163 

Long fire-snakes broke thro* the night's black cloak, 

The sky with their forked tails splitting, 
And hissing about, with their red tongues out, 

Blue lights thro' the dark air spitting ; 
While the clouds seem'd to throw on the war below, 

New wrath in a lightning-vomit, 
As if the tall pines from the hill's ravines, 

Leap'd on fire to its blazing summit ! 

The dread light died and the gloom spread wide, 

As if night had a tenfold mission — 
Then a sound tore the air, as if volcanoes there 

Met and smash' d in tremendous collision — 
And rolling down from the hill's black crown, 

The powers of King Donn were routed, 
While the thunder beat a loud retreat, 

And the charging hurricane shouted ! 

Have you seen the lake when its white waves break 

On its margin of rocks resounding, 
When they run to hide, on the bleak shore-side, 

From the wrath of the night-squall bounding ? 
Thus thro' the cloud-spray of the aerial sea, 

Whole armies were driven, and riven, 
Like forests hurl'd from a ruin'd world, 

Rent, scattered and toss'd thro' heaven ! 

The Wizard look'd up to the dark hill's top 

Where the gloom of the war was clearing, 
But a hell-hued cloud from its summit bow'd, 

Like a dungeon in air appearing, 
And down it swung, like a garment flung 

From the back of a demon, o'er him, 
And off, with the speed of a desert steed, 

Thro' the fields of the tempest bore him ! 

The whirlwind cheer'd, as he disappear'd 

Where a chaos of cloud-hills tumbled, 
Like the torn robe of a phantom-globe 

In stormy fragments jumbled, 
And a meteor sped, with its beam dark-red, 

Before him thro' night's arch leaping, 
Like a speck of blood on a sable flood 

To a fathomless whirlpool sweeping ! 

There's a dismal calm, and the white mists swam, 

Like foam on the star- vault painted ; 
And the storm expired, as if Nature, tired 

From her awful convulsions, fainted ; 



164 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And the last deep growl of the thunder's roll, 
With a drowsy echo, resounded, 

As it sunk to rest in the sky's dark breast, 
With its curtain of clouds around it ! 

I look'd on the hill where, solemn and still, 

Deep dreamy shadows were blended ; 
While a victor-throng, with a heavenly song, 

Thro' the slumbering haze descended, 
And away thro' the air, in grand career, 

Towards Carrig's* high Castle they wended, 
With fair Eveleen, like an angel seen, 

In the midst of their circles splendid ! U 



THE WAIL OF ERIN FOR THE DEATH OF 
W. S. O'BRIEN. 

The yellow-zoned morning was chasing night's gloom — 
Like our glory-crown'd God, when he rose from the tomb — 
And the mountains of Erin put gorgeously on 
Their helmets the gems of the new -risen sun ; 
But a shadow roll'd up on the eyelids of day, 
And melted to tears in the gold of their ray ; 
For the soul-wringing wail of a nation's wild grief 
Had burst o'er the land for her lately lost Chief. 

Where the towers of Kinkora 'rose proudly of old — 

With their royal halls blazing with falchions of gold — 

A bright Spirit-essence descended in tears, 

And appear'd half in gloom — as the day-dawn appears — 

She stood on the shadowy Rath of the Kings, 

With a harp in her hand, bearing rust on its strings, 

And her eye, like a rain-star, was weeping in fire, 

As her wild dirge 'rose blent with the sound of the wire. 

* Carrigogunnell was purchased by Donogh O'Brien, Prince of Thomond, 
a.d. 1214, from King John, for the sum of 60 marks ; its original pro- 
prietors were the O'Kearwicks, who were its real founders. Its name 
signifies the " Rock of the Candle," on account of a demon-light which 
appeared there every night, immediately after sunset, in the old pagan 
times. Tradition says that this light proved fatal to the person or persons 
who looked directly at it, for they did not survive to see the returning day. 
"When St. Patrick came on his Christian mission into the district, he was 
told all about this awful light and its deadly influence. He, having 
remained until he saw it, repaired directly to the rock, and after praying, 
challenged the Demon to appear before him. The Evil One did appear, and 
began a stubborn discussion with the saint, who finally banished him from 
the rock, where the death-light was never more seen. Carrigogunnell was 
reckoned to be one of the strongest fortresses in Munster, and many a 
fierce assault did it withstand during centuries of invasion and violence, 
until it was entirely dismantled and blown up by an immense quantity of 
gunpowder, in 1692, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 165 

" Oh ! the last of my Dalcassian Eagles is gone, 
My regal-soul'd, high-minded, bright-hearted one ! 
Another black grief-drop is flung in my bowl, 
And another affliction-sword plunged in my soul ! 
I look thro' the death-cloud that darkens my land, 
I gaze on the book of my fate in God's hand, 
But no name, in the future or past, can I see 
More dear to my people — more faithful to me ! 

" Oh ! thy spirit was pure as the dew on the bough, 
And no base foreign tinsel e'er shone on thy brow ! 
And the star of thy princely race — long in the wane — 
In thee seem'd to blaze with new brightness again ; 
Thy proud eyes were turned towards my dim horizon, 
Where my glory had left but a spark of its sun ; 
And thy brave hand was lifted to bring back its ray, 
And change the night- cloud of my tears into day ! 

" And thine was a mind, as an orient sky bright, 

Where each thought, like a sunrise, was bursting in light ; 

And thy high Celtic soul, like a golden harp strung, 

In a flame-gush of eloquence burn'd on thy tongue ! 

Thy heart was a chalice of jewels that blaz'd 

On every high altar to freedom's cause raised ; 

And thy hand — like a harvest by genial suns blest, — 

Was full of rich gifts for the poor and oppress'd ! 

" Last Prince of green Thomond — my heaven-gifted child ! 
For me thou wert slander' d, mock'd, tortured, exiled ! 
Tho' thy high spirit felt, yet it dashed off the sting, 
As the proud eagle shakes the cold rain from his wing — 
Envious clouds may arise on the Day -god's red beam, 
But nothing can quench the bright fount of his flame ; 
So the rays of thy soul shone resplendent above 
The malice of foes — in its glory and love ! 

4 'The patriot unbending — the statesman so shrewd — 
The hero disarm'd, but never subdued — 
The philanthropist noble — the orator prime — 
The scholar exalted — the poet sublime — 
The husband devoted — the father sincere — 
The lover of justice — the bosom friend dear — 
The Exile, the Martyr — for country and kind — 
Godlike virtues — all, all in thy heart were enshrin'd ! 

" Man's race, like a spring- tide, shall long come and go, 
Bearing great names in its ebb and its flow ; 
But what patriot-name on its dark wave shall shine 
So purely — so brightly — so grandly as thine ? 



166 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Thou'st borne the cross of my sorrows and wrongs, 
And thou would'st have changed all my tears into songs 
Of freedom and joy, could each drop in thy veins 
Heal the wounds of my anguish or melt off my chains ! 

" I weep — but tho' darkly my sad tears may run — 
My soul bounds with glory to name thee my son ! 
Yes, Erin's beloved — whose veins' warm springs 
Elash'd red with the fire of the blood of my Kings ! 
The proud eagle-flight of their spirit was thine, 
But thy heart-gushing love and devotion were mine ! 
For no chief of thy race ever loved me more true, 
Since the grand, golden days of my Kingly Boru ! 

"Thou art gone to repose, with the brave patriot-band 
That strove, bled, and suffer'd, and died for my land ! 
They've welcomed thee now to their star-bowers of rest, 
Where the flowers never die in the fields of the Blest ! 
And thou'lt gaze on the world-lighting fire of God's face, 
With a prayer on thy lips for my heart-stricken race ; 
And when the dark veil of my fate is withdrawn, 
Thou'lt watch for my day'-star and welcome its dawn \ 

"' Oh, Poland ! my sister in bondage and woe I 
The champion and friend of thy cause is laid low ! 
3Jho' his mighty soul wept fiery blood-tears for me, 
He'd a voice and a heart for thy sufferings and thee — 
Far — far o'er the seas shall his requiem be borne, 
And sunny-eyed Greece and Columbia shall mourn — 
Thou'lt sigh for my son, 'mid the battle's career, 
With the gore of thy savage foes red on thy spear !* 

" In my soul, on the throne of my bosom I'll write 

His dear name and memory in letters of light ! 

And when the now living shall moulder away, 

And the tongues of his slanderers melt into clay, 

His name shall shine out, with new splendour all bright, 

Like a planet appearing more radiant at night ! 

And his tomb, where repose his dear ashes, shall be 

The hallowed haunt of the faithful and free !" 



JOHN MITCHELL EST EXILE. 

Does Erin hear her Mitchell sigh, when o'er her wounds I 

weep? 
Did Erin see her Mitchell chain'd — and did her spirit sleep 1 

* The Polea were grappling with the Hussions, at the titne of his death; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 167 

I loved thee then — I love thee now — tho' far away from thee, 
My heart, my soul, and life are thine — my Erinn Oge 
Machree ! * 

As the lion from the desert in strong iron fetters borne, 
So from the spirit of thy cause thy faithful son was torn ! 
But craven-hearts and traitors stood between thy cause and 

me, 
Thy freedom would be bought with blood— my Erinn Oge 

Machree ! 

Oh ! the hungering grief of exile !— oh, the weary long delay 
Of retribution's coming, gnaws my heart and soul away ! 
Oh ! my spirit's thirsty craving to behold thee great and free, 
Has turned my blood and brain to fire— my Erinn Oge 
Machree ! 

I kneel, imploring heaven to hurry on the lagging hour, 
When Fate shall sound the death-knell of the pirate's bloody 

power ! 
When thou shalt rise all glorious, as an angel 'mid the sea, 
Earth's Rose and Beauty's Paradise — my Erinn Oge Machree I 

Oh 1 for ten thousand fiery Celts to act at my command, 
Oh ! for a field and hill-side camp within my native land ! 
Oh ! for a day to meet thy foes — how glorious would it be 
To die, or chase them from thy shore— ray Erinn Oge 
Machree ! 

But God has turn'd away his face, and 'tis his heavenly will 

To bend the yoke of servitude upon his Israel still ; 

And well art thou chastised, my love ! but lift thine eyes and 

see 
The day of thy release is near — my Erinn Oge Machree ! 

The clouds of death are gathering fast o'er Babylon's strong 

towers, 
And desolation's night shall fall upon her guilty powers ; 
And those that scourged thy noble sons and persecuted thee, 
Will yet lie trodden in the dust — my Erinn Oge Machree I 

Then dry thy gloomy tears, dear land, and lift thy virgin eyes, 
Thy crown of thorns will turn to flowers, for heaven has heard 

thy cries ; 
When she — whose adamantine foot trod down thy brave and 

free — 
Shall gnash her teeth in fire and blood— my Erinn Oge 

Machree ! 

* Young Erinii of my heart. 



168 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Oh ! thou know'st that I love thee, with a love like raging 

fire, 
That, like a sleepless serpent, eats away my heart entire ! 
Ever longing— ever craving, thy bright shore of saints to see, 
Free from the alien scourge and curse— my Erinn Oge Machree! 

I've formed a crystal temple in my burning, loving heart, 
And there in all the majesty of freedom's dawn thou art ! 
There in thy queenly glory I behold thee great and free, 
My own, my brilliant, beautiful, — My Erinn Oge Machree ! 

I know thy Mitchell's name is shrined within thy soul of 

songs — . 
I published to the wondering world the story of thy wrongs ! 
And a day of bloody reckoning draweth near thy foes, and 

thee, 
When they shall weep and thou shalt laugh — my Erin Oge 

Machree I 



TO ROBERT D. JOYCE. 

On the Publication of his Poems. 

Bold master of the Irish lyre ! sweet mouth of song, all hail ! 
Feardana of the lofty verse ! Ard Filea of the Gael ! 
As joys the thirsty traveller when a pure spring warbles near, 
So burst thy living numbers on my soul's enraptured ear ! 

The silent, cloud-robed grandeur of the mountain solitude, 
The bowery vale, the flowery plain, the emerald-vested wood ; 
The gaping breach, the 'leagured town, the reckless battle- 
throng — 
All glow before my spirit, in the pictures of thy song ! 

The mystic Spirit-world, with its fairy splendour gay, 
Thy daring genius has unlock'd, with Poesy's magic key ; 
The sun-ray'd jewels of Romance, with all their pristine light, 
Burst, flashing from thy wizard pen, upon our charm'd sight ! 

Sweet Ollav of the golden lay ! oh ! would my simple praise 
Add one bright floweret to the crown of "thy immortal bays, 
And place thy brilliant page — a gem — in every Irish hand— 
Feardana of romantic song were honour' d in our land ! 

Then pour upon thy country's ear thy harp-notes wild an 

strong, 
And melt into our burning hearts the jewels of thy song ; 
And let thy eagle Mtyae tower up to heaven, on flashing wing, 
'Till Erin, with adihiring soul, delights to hear thee sing 1 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 169 

Here, by old Shannon's noble flood, I drink thy tuneful lore, 
And, as my spirit sips thy strain, I thirst and long for more ! 
Back, on the spring-tide of thy verse, I float to olden times, 
And bathe my fancy in the rays of radiant Fairy climes ! 

THE WOODMAN'S DAUGHTER. 

The dawn was blushing on the streams — 

Dark frown'd the woods on Cratloe's mountains ; 
Thro' wavy mist the crimson beams 

Stole o'er the silvery fields and fountains ; 
The clouds were bright'ning in the east, 

With many a shade and sun-gemm'd curl, 
When by the river's azure breast 

Stood, all alone, a weeping girl. 

The rose was faded on her cheek, 

And all that wild despair expresses 
Was in her eye — her voice was weak — 

The dew was glistening on her tresses — 
Upon a grassy mound above 

The amber bosom of the water — 
The victim of an ill-starr'd love — 

There stood the woodman's poor, lost daughter ! 

" I weep at my own wake !" she cried, 

"My own sad funeral I'm attending ! 
My bier and shroud this silent tide — 

My plumes the green reeds o'er me bending ! 
Oh ! love ! is this my bridal bed — 

Is this the wedding-day you've brought me ? 
Have all the golden vows you made, 

But dark disgrace and ruin wrought me ? 

"No more, by wild Blackwater's grove, 

I'll wander thro' the sunny meadows, 
Where first I own'd my timid love, 

Beneath the hazel's dewy shadows ! 
Oh ! heart deserted and deceived — 

Oh ! you whose artful words betray'd it — 
You for whom that fond heart lived — 

Behold the ruin you have made it ! 

"Ah ! false one! why was I so blind 

To love thee — listen, and believe thee ? 
Oh ! broken heart were you less kind, 

He never — never could deceive me ! 
Hide me, Death ! let foe and friend 

Erase me from their recollection ! 
love ! love ! is this the end 

Of all my fondness and affection ? 

12 




170 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

" My shame is known — my father weeps — 

The village maidens shun our dwelling ! 
My lonely mother seldom sleeps, 

For day and night her tears are welling ! 
But I will hide my early shame, 

Deep — deep beneath this gloomy water ! 
The eye of scorn — the voice of blame — 

No more shall reach the woodman's daughter ! 

"My babe unborn, ah ! must you share 

Your mother's doom and tribulation ? 
Ere you have known your mother's care, 

Or smiled amid the bright creation ! 
But I shall never give you birth, 

Tho' dear as life and soul I prize you — 
A thing forbid by heaven and earth — 

Yet never shall the world despise you ! 

* ' Death's sleep is stealing on my eyes ! 

My weary day of life is over ! 
Where are my dreams of wedded joys — 

And where are you, my faithless lover ? 
Ye virgins of the bowery vale, 

No more, with downcast eyes, you'll shun me ! 
Forget my name and hush the tale 

That brought the stain of shame upon me !" 

Her ribbon'd bonnet she untied — , , 

With gaudy silk and flowerets gleaming ; ^ 

Her homely scarf she cast aside — 

Her eyes, with grief's last tear-gush streaming, 
Look'd wildly towards her rural home — 

Then turning to the trembling river, 
She plunged amid its whirling foam, 

And sank in death's cold sleep for ever. 

They sought her, all the live-long day, 

In glen and grove, but no one found her ; 
Deep, deep in Shannon's flood she lay — 

The silvery fishes gliding round her ! 
They sought her in the dark-blue tide — 

In wild distraction shrieked her mother, 
And on the river's lonely side, 

With tears of vengeance, wail'd her brother. 

They raised her body from the flood, 

And in a rural grave they laid her, 
While many a burning curse pursued 

The heartless villain that betrayed her. . 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 171 

The village girls, for many a day, 

Bewailed the woodman's blue-eyed daughter, 
The loveliest corpse that ever lay 

Beneath the Shannon's crystal water. 



THE LILY OF SUNVILLE. 

Is the beautiful Lily of Sunville no more, 
Ere the bright-flowering bloom of her springtime was o'er ? 
Woe is me, that the grave and the pale, winding-sheet, 
Have wrapt, in their shadows, the gentle and sweet ! 

I witness' d your bridal, as splendid and bright, 

As ever the church sanctified with a rite ! 

And a thousand lips praised you, and breathed a prayer 

On your pure virgin-spirit — oh ! graceful and fair ! 

There was pleasure around you from morn 'till night, 
For you touch'd every heart with a glow of delight ! 
And the generous house of your kind-handed sire, 
Was gay as a banquet-harp strung with gold wire ! 

That house was a heaven while you were the sun 
Which shed brightness around it — oh ! beautiful one ! 
While the rich feasted there — the forlorn and poor 
Ne'er turn'd with a cold, empty hand from the door ! 

Sweet words of compassion and kindness were there 
For all who would come with a tale of despair ! 
And the full, friendly hand was held forth to redress 
Each poor bashful neighbour and child of distress ! 

There the music that 'neath your fair white fingers rung, 
Seem'd to borrow its wild syren tones from your tongue ! 
And your smiles made me think of the angels above, 
When they throng round the Lord, with the songs of their 
love! 

I have seen a snow-cloud on Camailte's blue height, 
But your brow was as fair, and your bosom as white ! 
I have heard the May-song of the river-breeze sweet, 
And I thought of your voice and your light-treading feet ! 

I've marked the Spring-stars, in the deep twilight skies, 
Looking kindly towards earth, like your calm, gentle eyes, 
When your fair hand was reached with a boon of relief 
To some creature of want or a victim of grief. 



172 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

I have watched the new summer-moon stealing from view, 
'Mid the fire-isles that blaze in the dark, aerial blue, 
'Till her pale ring was lost in the foam-bosom'd wave — 
So you, oh ! beloved ! have sunk to the grave ! 

Aye, sank to the grave the foul worms among — 
Oh ! my bosom would burst if you lay there unsung ! 
For I bless your loved name, when I think of the days, 
When your sweet voice gave music and grace to my lays ! 

Yes, the tears of my heart on your tombstone would burst, 
If they'd soothe your dear spirit or warm your dust !' 
And oft have my thoughts climb'd the heavens to see 
If thy angel companions were lovely as thee ! 



THE DEATH OF KING CRIMTHAN. 

a.d. 378. 

This illustrious Irish King, of brilliant achievements, at home and on 
the Continent, was poisoned by the hand of his own sister, Mongfinne, 
(fair tresses) in the bright career of his splendid triumphs. Her object 
for the committal of so base a crime, was to have her son elected to the 
supreme throne in Crimthan's place. But her wicked project was never 
consummated, for not one of her descendants ever came to the throne of 
ancient Erin, except Roderick O'Connor and Torloghmore, two of the most 
fatal monarchs that Ireland ever saw. On presenting the poisoned cup to 
her brother, she tasted it before him, in order to allay any suspicion that 
might arise in his mind. She soon expired from the effect of the dose, but 
the King continued his march thro' the country until he arrived at the 
hill of Bally kinnane in the county of Clare, about three miles from Limerick. 
There, in the midst of his sorrowing army, he was seized with horrid spasms, 
and he expired on the summit of the hill. He was buried where he died, 
and a large cairn was raised over his remains to mark his grave. A few 
months ago I went, accompanied by another lover of Irish lore, to see this 
remarkable grave. All the stones which composed the great Cairn were 
taken away by the landlord to build fences on his land, but the principal 
grave-stone whiclr v covers the monarch's ashes is still there unmolested. 
The peasantry of the district are quite familiar with this grave and its 
strange history. They call the hill Knoc High Crimthan, i.e., King Crim- 
than's HilL He was succeeded on the royal throne of Ireland by the cele- 
brated Niall of the Nine Hostages. 

King Crimthan has marched to the land of the South, 
Taking hostage, and tribute, and spoil on his route ; 
At the head of his glittering battalions he rode, 
With the pride of a victor and pomp of a god. 
And his ringletted sister came forth, with feign'd joy, 
From her bright-royal halls by the waves of the Moy, 
And she stretch' d her white arms her brother to greet ; 
Who could think there was guile in a bosom so sweet ? 

Her eye was the crystal that gleams on the flower 
When morning looks down thro' the mist of a shower ; 
And she look'd like the white cloud that gleams on the hill, 
When summer is bright and the breezes are still. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 173 

With her rich tresses bound by a diadem-band, 
She gave to the monarch her bright- jewelFd hand ; 
And he sprang from his grand, golden car to the ground, 
And embraced the fair dame while her virgins stood round. 

Three days hath he tasted the festive delights 
Of her high banquet-hall, with his chieftains and knights ; 
But when he arose his brave march to resume, 
And braced on his armour, gold helmet and plume, 
She moved to his side while her right hand held up, 
With affection's dear semblance, a death-bearing cup, 
And she spoke in his ear, like the song-bird of Spring, 
"Take this sweet, parting drink from thy sister, King !" 

To lull his suspicions, if any, to sleep, 

She tasted the draught but she tasted too deep ; 

Then he shook her soft hand as she stood in the hall, 

And he heaved up the bowl till he emptied it all. 

Away on his journey the monarch is gone, 

And his murderess has fled to her chamber alone, 

Where the blood of her heart, like a furnace, dried, 

And, with hot bursting eye-balls, she writhed and died. 

Thro' Galway and Thomond brave Crimthan has march'd, 
And there's death in his heart and his vitals are parch'd ; 
But when he reach'd Bally kinnane's gloomy hill, 
His warriors and Brehons, and Druids stood still ; 
And they laid their sick king on a heather couch down, 
And their murmur arose, like the winter wind's moan, 
For the voice of their anguish was awful and loud, 
When they saw the death-pangs of the conqueror proud. 

The mists of the West round the sun's face are roll'd, 

And the heather seems sheeted with crimson and gold ; 

While high, 'mid the haze, on the summit's blue ring 

The warriors are making a grave for their king : 

With their broad swords they shaped it, and down in its bed 

Was many a hot drop of their hearts' sorrow shed ; 

While the Druids, white-robed, with their brows to the sun, 

Stood unmoved on the hill till the ritual was done. 

They placed him deep down in that grave's silent hall, 
His shield was his pillow, his war-cloak the pall ; 
His bier the wild heather, his plume the hill-cloud, 
The helmet his napkin, the armour his shroud. 
And there thro' long ages the mountain winds sing 
Dreary requiems of grief o'er the sleep of the king ; 
And his gravestone is fringed with the bright rosy stain 
Of the red broom that made the sweet bior* of the Dane. 

* This heath, from which the Danes brewed a delicious liquor, is entirely 
different from the common heath. It is quite short and thin and is adorned 
with a beautiful rose-coloured blossom. It is called in Irish, Freik an-a- 
nee, which means, Ale of the Liver, on account of its medicinal virtue fo - * 
curing liver complaint. 



174 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE BATTLE OF CROOM.* 
a.d. 1599. 

Lord Essex is coming — and deep is the gloom 
Of his banners o'ershading the borders of Croom — 
Up — up ye fierce men of the mountain and glen, 
And raise your loud war-shouts of freedom again ! 

Like the dark mists of winter o'erspreading the vale, 
The plumes of the Saxon float proud on the gale ; 
Like the waves of the river, when lit by the sun, 
The steel-sheathed ranks in their splendour move on. 

The war-fires are lighted — oh ! princely Mac Caura ! 
Haste — sharpen thy sword for the combat to-morrow I 
Let thy proud banner wave o'er the battle's red brow, 
And hurl thy clan on the ranks of the foe ! 

Arise to the contest, ye brave Geraldines ! 
Array the fierce war-horse, and marshal your lines ! 
Come* forth to the field, like the dash of the sea, 
When the tempest-cloud bursts upon stormy Kilkee ! 

The red sun is bright on the hills of Clan Carrha — 
They sweep to the fight, like the death-winged arrow ; 
The wild battle-slogan, tremendous and stern, 
Swells fierce, on the wind, from the ranks of the kern. 

The blaze and the clash of the combat began, 
And God's burning terrors seem'd wielded by man ; 
From the Gael to the Saxon one flame-deluge burn'd, 
And fiercely the Saxon his vengeance return'd. 

As the mountain-cloud, chafed by the wind-spirit's ire, 
Spits the red-winged flash from its black mouth of fire ; 
So furious and fast did Clan Carrha's fierce sons, 
On the proud Saxon host pour the blaze of their guns. 

The mail'd phalanx bursts where the wild Gallowglass, 
With his ponderous axe, thro' the ranks hew'd a pass ; 
While the armour that guarded their hearts' purple wells, 
Rang loud, as the clashing of iron-tongued bells. 

Have you heard, at deep midnight, the sea-surges rave, 
When the tempest-king dances in fire on the wave ? 
So dire was the fury of axes and spears, 
As they plough'd the strong mail of the tall cavaliers. 

* A large division of Lord Essex's army, on its way to invade the North, 
was attacked near Macroom by the O'Mores and Mac Carthys, and routed 
with great loss. The place was called the " Pass of Plumes," on account 
of the large mass of plumes shorn from the helmets of the English cavalry. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 175 

Like reeds on the river-bank, trampled and strown, 
Lie footmen and horsemen together o'erthrown ; 
Hark ! the wild cheer of victory — Lord Essex has fled, 
And the flower of his legions behind him lies dead. 

There's triumph and joy in the homes of the Gael, 
There's wailing and woe in the towers of the Pale ; 
The Saxon is swept from the plains of Clan Carrha, 
And Desmond is free as her wild Gougane Barra. 



THE MISER'S GRAVE. 

In silence I gaze on the dust where you lie, 

But my breast feels no throb, and my heart heaves no sigh ; 

In Memoriam, above you, appears the cold stone, 

Sure, while living, your heart was as cold as its own! 

You might be below or you may be above, 

But I'm sorry you died, without no one to love ! 

Tho' your gold, in a shower, on your gravestone would glare, 

'Twould not purchase one tear to your memory there ! 

You were cold to the poor, to the sick, and distress'd, 
But why you were so, your Creator knows best ; 
You spurn'd the friendship that links man to man, 
Alas ! that too many are following your plan ! 

Cold moans the bleak wind o'er the grass and the dew 
On your grave — yet I know 'tis not moaning for you ; 
Tho', like your drear life, 'tis unfeeling and cold, 
Yet it sighs not, with pity, for you and your gold ! 

On the side of your mound, a young daisy appears, 
Its pure snowy fringe is besilver'd with tears ; 
I'll kiss off those sun-gems — from Nature they grew — 
For I know the sweet flower is not weeping for you ! 

A wild bee's weird hum, 'mid the silence, I hear, 
He's gone— for a moment he only came near — 
To some sweeter part of earth's bosom he flew, 
For he knows that he'd gather no honey from you ! 

From yonder hawthorn's white vest in the sun, 

A red-breasted bird all the morning sings on ; 

You cared not for song while life's throbbings you knew, 

Then the sweet thing is singing for Nature, not you ! 



176 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

A grass-spider has woven his web a1j your head, 
To entangle some poor, winged victim 'tis spread ; 
He has just merely done what you often did do, 
For many a victim was tangled by you ! 

If the treasures of earth were all circling your brow, 
You'd not open your cold eyes to look on them now ; 
While travelling through life little mercy you knew, 
Yet I hope our dear Saviour has mercy on you ! 

You lived for yourself, and for no one you cared, 
You saw friends in want while your money you spared ; 
You left it behind you — what more could you do ? — 
Then no one — ay, nothing ! should mourn for you ! 



THE HEROINE OF THE BREACH. 

A ROMANCE OF THE SIEGE OF LIMERICK. 

On the city of heroes the night-shadow lay, 

And her brave sons reposed from the toils of the fray — 

Tower, bastion, and wall, with the cold mists are wet — 

The gates are secure and the sentinels set. 

The morrow's fierce work in the council is plann'd — 

The troops are arranged and the ramparts are mann'd — ■ 

The guards keep their eyes on the dark plain below, 

All lined with the tents of the dread foreign foe. 

But who is yon maiden by Shannon's calm tide ? 
And who is that tall, comely youth at her side ? 
'Tis Con Mac Namara, from Cratloe's brown highland, 
And Mary O'Connor the Rose of the Island ! 
He, graceful and proud as a Prince of the Gael, 
She, blue-eyed and amber-haired, pensive and pale ; 
But love never knitted, in joy or in sorrow, 
More fond souls than Mary and Con Mac Namara ! 

" Alas ! my young heart's best beloved !" she cries, 

With a sigh on her lips and a prayer in her eyes, 

" Perhaps from this night, our fond meetings are o'er, 

'Till we meet yet, in peace, on eternity's shore ! 

To-morrow's fierce combat will prove to the world 

Our glory or shame, when the Green is unfurled ! 

But, Con ! I implore you! whate'er may befall, 

Retreat not, but die ere you move from the wall ! 

And if heaven wills that I meet you again, 

Let me see you a victor, gallant youth, then ! 

If not — may my eyes in the grave's silent rest 

Be closed, with the cold, weeping turf on my breast, 

Ere I live to behold the dire ruin and sin 

That shall ravage our town if the Dutchmen come in !" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 177 

The youth gazed around him, and pressed her white hand, 

Pointing towards the grim ramparts so fearlessly mann'd; 

"By the blood of my father who fell at the Boyne, 

I'll wed thee a victor or never be thine ! 

Behold this brave sword !" and he held up the blade 

Gleaming brightly before the pale face of the maid — 

' * This hard-temper'd steel to a cedar shall grow, 

Ere you see haughty Luimneach possess 'd by the foe ! 

Oh ! Mary ! I think while I gaze on your charms, 

'Tis Erin herself that inspires me to arms ! 

And to-morrow, please heaven, this brave sword shall teach 

Dutch Billy a lesson, at yonder gray breach ! 

He deems he has nothing to do but walk in — 

If he does, by the Cross, he'll be slash'd out again!" 

He laughed, and the pale maiden smiled as he spoke, 

But a sigh of regret from her heaving heart broke ; 

'* 1 know you are brave, and your actions have proved 

How faithful and well you deserve to be loved ? 

Forgive your own Mary for daring to show 

How a youth of your valour should rush on the foe ! 

Oh ! do not be reckless the danger to seek — 

'Twas love for our country that forced me to speak ! 

Be bold in the battle, but dare not too far, 

Cool valour, not rashness, is safest in war ! 

You know that my father and brothers are dead — 

Together they perish 'd in Shannon's deep bed, 

When the troops, from Killeely, in rapid retreat, 

Found at Thomond-gate's draw-bridge one treacherous fate.* 

Oh ! Virgin of mercy ! — I stood on the strand, 

And I saw the white flood swallow down the brave band, 

And their hoarse, horrid drowning shrieks rang to the sky, 

As the surges leap'd o'er them, with wild, savage joy! 

The swift rolling water a moment seem'd chain'd, 

And its ridges of silver with blood-streaks were vein'd ; 

While thick o'er its bosom the foam-circles flew 

Where the heads of the doom'd ones sank deep from my view! 

I heard yonder rapid Fallf gurgle and wail, 

As if death, overgorged, became choked with the meal ! 

But the sun seem'd to die, and my eyes saw no more, 

For the sight left their balls, and I swoon'd on the shore ! 

• It is stated that an officer named Clifford, who commanded the garrison 
that guarded Thomond Bridge, was bribed to destroy a division of the Irish 
army, by opening the drawbridge before them, on their retreat from Killeely 
fields, where they were foraging their horses, when attacked by an ov«r- 
whelming force of the "Williamites, who drove them into the snare prepijfwt 
for their destruction. 

i The Fall of Curracour, which signifies " Help ! Help /" the ory of the 
drowning men when they fell into the current. 



178 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Since that blood-freezing scene of disaster and dole, 
Gloom- visions'of horror have haunted my soul — 
I'm alone in the world, but while heaven spares thee, 
There's yet a sweet flower in life's desert for. me !" 

He smiled and replied, in a low-breathed tone, 

"Dear Mary ! my heart and my life are your own ! 

When the combat is o'er and the victory ours; 

And the Spirit of Freedom enthroned on our towers ! 

I'll make you the happiest, loveliest bride 

That e'er blushed, in her joy, by a warrior's side ! . 

And I'll bring from the battle some rich golden prize, 

As bright as my sunny-hair'd darling's blue eyes ! ; 

And — oh ! glorious hour — when our city is free, 

Believe it, my sweet one ! I'll hasten to thee ! 

Weep not, love ! be calm — this is no time for tears — 

Hark ! the roll of the drum ! — see, the morning appears ! 

All hail .' fatal day of contention and death ! 

How radiant thy beams, and how peaceful thy breath ? 

From the east's yellow bosom thou lookest as bright, .' 

As if banquets, 'ji'ot blood, were to hallow thy light-! 

Oh ! day of destruction ! oh ! calm-breathing morn ! 

In storm and lightning thou should' st be born ! 

Since the great God hath called out of darkness thy ray; 

It never gave birth to so deathful a. day ! 

The drums beat to arms — the towers are alive 

With troops, gathering thick as the swarms of the hive — 

Look yonder — a, god to the ramparts has come—* 

'Tis Sarsfield ! I know the proud wave of his plume ! 

Return to thy home, O dear Mary 1 and pray 

To the great God to give us the victory to' day ! 

Towers, walls, gates and all, shall be blown in the air, 

Ere we yield the brave city while Sarsfield is there !" 

She wrung her white hands, and cried bitter and loud— 
He kiss'd her — departed, and riish'd thro' the crowd- 
To the ramparts he bounded, with wind-winged feet, 
And left the sad maiden to weep in the street. 

'Tis noonday — the sun his hot zenith-beams 'threw, 
In rivers of gold, round his palace of blue* 
And, in mimic fire, blazed on sword, musket, and mail, 
Where the foreign hosts cover' d the plain of Singail.* 
One roar of the cannon — one roll of the drum--- 
One blast of the trumpet — and forward they come ; 
On they drive, like a sea gathering wrath in its track, ' 
With the foam on its breast and the squall at its back, 

• Singleland, the ground of many a hot contest, for^centuries, between 
the natives and the invaders. , 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 179 

Rising, whirling, and boiling' 'till stopp'd by the shore, 
In madness it breaks and leaps back, with a roar, 
Thus check 'd at the breach by the valour within, 
Surged and burst the fierce torrent of horses and men ; 
O'er ditch, fosse, and rampart one hurricane broke 
. Of fire,* steel and iron, and thunder, and smoke — 
One dread crash of swords — the defenders are down — 
One mad push of hosts — they are into the town — 
One cheer, and one dash of the women and men — 
And back through the breach they are beaten again ! 

But who is he, first in the grim battle -van, 
With. the arm of a god and the breast of a man ? 
'Tis, Con MacNamara from Cratloe's brown highland, 
The darling of Mary — the Rose of the Island ! 
There's a wound iii his side from the Williamite shot, — 
There's blood on his brow — but he matters it not ; 
On the heads of the foemen his rapid steel falls, 
And piles of their dead are heap'd under the walls ! 

, Have you seen, 'mid the^hill-clouds, red-fiery shafts gleam, 
When the storm-fiend puts on his armour of flame, 
While the rain-deluge sweeps thro' the glens, with a roar, 
From the heath-crested summits of Cappantimore ; 
Thus flash'd thro' the war-cloud the steel of brave Con, 
Driving ghosts from their clay, as the wild rout rolls on — 
Clang, clang goes his sword, and a dead, hollow sound 
Replies, atreach blow, there's a corpse on the ground! 
Death stalks, in a billow of gore, at his side, 

. And his pathway of slaughter is fearful and wide ; 
Towards yonder tall knight — the vast blood-surge he stems — 
Whose helmet of silver is circled with gems. — 
He promised his amber-hair'd Mary a prize, 
He sees it, and headlong to win it he flies ; 
And he thinks how resplendent those rays of the mine 
In the rich, flaxen locks of his fair one would shine. 

The eye of the haughty knight mark'd his advance, 
And swift, at his bosom he aim'd his long lance,' 
But the sword of the Celt broke the spear's winged force, 
And dash'd it aside from its blood-thirsty course. 
' They rushed on each other, with falchion in hand, 
And in quick, tangled flashes, brand leap'd upon brand ; 
Like two dancing sunbeams, around their high crests 
The- circling* steel glitter 'd, and blazed at their breasts. 
Brave Con, with a foot like the wild mountain-roe, 
Changed ground and frustrated the aim of his foe ; 
'Till the foreigner, blinded by fury and hate, 
Grew weak — dropp'd his guard and commenced to retreat — v 
With the sprii*g ; of a wolf-hound, Con follow'd — one clash 
Resounds— aite the bleeding knight sinks, with a crash. . 



180 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The rich-jewell'd helmet he stoop'd to unbind, 

When a Dutch Cavalier, from the trenches behind, 

Dash'd on him, unseen, and his spear — like a flame 

In the whirlwind's grasp — had been plunged in his frame, 

But Mary O'Connor rush'd in on his path, 

Like an angel of God on a mission of wrath ; 

There's a stone in her hand, and the wave of her hair, 

Like a sun-cloud of heaven, is spread on the air — 

Crash flies the crag in the face of the foe, 

And prostrate and powerless he falls at the blow. 

Her brave lover tost the plumed cap from his head, 

And the knight's silver helmet plac'd on in its stead ; 

And never did helmet of silver or steel 

Become the high brow of a hero so well. 

He turns to the maiden — " Mary ! retire! 

See the foes from yon battery have open'd their fire ! 

Soon the mine will be sprung and that tower shall be driven, 

In a whirlwind of terror and ruin, thro' heaven ! 

But she stands at his side, 'mid the thick-flaming hail, 
And bares her white breast to the bullet and steel ; 
He shields her behind him — she walks in his tread, 
And follows his steps o'er the wounded and dead. 

Now the Williamites swept thro' the breach, like the wind, 

To escape the hot vengeance that press 'd them behind ; 

And the fire, — the wild tumult, — the groan and the yell, 

Outrivall'd the deep, fiery horrors of hell. 

Like the Maelstrom that swallows and vomits the wreck, 

The red-mouthed breach spewed the broken host back, 

And Mary is swept, from her young lover's side, 

In the surge of the throng— like a flower on the tide. 

"Mary! Mary!" he cried, with a wild, thrilling screech, 

As she pass'd, 'mid the rout of the foe, thro' the breach. 

Like a fire-spirit rushing in flames thro' a cloud, 

With his raised sword, he plunged thro' the heart of the crowd ; 

He hollows a road thro' the mad, driving throng, 

And his steel carries death where he dashes along ; 

O'er the red fosse he bounded, and headlong away 

He darts 'mid the flying host's wild disarray ; 

Before him they widen — behind him they, reel — 

As the broken flood tumbles and sways at the keel. 

Oh ! he sees her — she struggles and screams in despair — 

A savage Dane drags her along by the hair ; 

All on fire, at the sight, on the stranger he flew, 

And clove, at a blow, skull and helmet in two. 

. He clasps the glad maiden, and turns on his track, 
Tlwo' tfie flying steel-forest he fights his way back ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 181 

But the helmet of gems to the foemen is known, 

And the blaze of their swords hemmed him round, like a zone ; 

Mary springs from his arm and wrenches a spear 

From the cold stony grasp of a dead cavalier ; 

like a goddess of war, the long weapon she plies, 

And stands at his side, with her soul in her eyes ; 

He guards her— she guards him — the spear she extends 

'Twixt his head and each merciless sword that impends ; 

But so fast shower the numberless strokes of the foes, 

They escape from the blows intercepted by blows. 

His strength fails — he staggers — the hour of his doom, 

And her ruin — oh! angels, avert it! — is come, 

A flood of fire roars from the ramparts* on high, 

Like the abyss of hell leaping into the sky ; 

The sun seemed to whirl from its sphere, like a wheel, 

As if God's judgment- thunders had burst in one peal ; 

Earth seem'd, from her axis, to dance at the sound, 

As if heaven's artillery roll'd to the ground ; 

Rocks and fragments of bodies fell, showering amain, 

And the fugitives reel'd, as if drunk, on the plain ; 

And a shout from the city 'rose, furious and shrill 

As the yell of an earthquake engulfing a hill ; 

The black demon-shadows of ruin pass'd by, 

And the frantic sounds died in the breast of the sky ; 

And the sun thro' the melting haze gave back his beam, 

As if 'waking, rejoiced, from a horrible dream. 

On the fields of Singail there is silence and gloom, 

Death, havoc, and wreck, have deformed their bloom ; 

No foemen, save dead ones, are seen on the plain, 

But Con and his Mary uninjured remain. 

He's weary and weak, for the wound in his side 

Has emptied his veins of the strength of their tide. 

On her white waxen shoulder his cheek is laid down, 

And slowly together they enter the town ; 

Within the cleft ramparts he sinks to the ground, 

And she tears off her 'kerchief and binds his raw wound. 

Sarsfield clasp'd her fair hand, with a victor's delight, 

And gave her a golden ring costly and bright. 

She nurst her young chief, in his illness and pain, 

'Till the spring of his vigour return'd again ;" 

And he led to the altar the heroic maid, 

And took her to France, with the Irish Brigade. 

* The blowing up of the Black battery, the noise of which was heard at a 
distance of twenty miles. 



182 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND, 



LAMENT FOR EDWARD WALSH.* 

On silver-bosom'd Avon Dhu 

Soft shone the rosy morning beam, 
And many a leaf, impearl'd with dew, 

Hung weeping o'er the gentle stream ; 
On shaded rock and misty dell 

The sickly hue of Autumn hung, 
When by the river's pensive swell 

I heard this plaintive requiem sung! — 

"From wild GlengariiFs fairy strand, 

To Avon Dhu's romantic side, 
From gentle Banna's amber sand 

To Liffey's darkly winding tide, 
From Shannon's border to the sea — 

From Suir's bright springs to crystal Nore, 
Ye sons of song, come mourn, with me, 

The bard of legendary lore ! 

" Ah ! gentle star of genius dear, 

Where is thy beam of beauty gone ? 
Tho' clouded in thy kindred sphere, 

Thy ray with sweetest splendour shone ! 
As springs the modest mountain-flower 

Beneath mild April's dewy ray — 
As smiles the wild rose on the brier, 

Thy genius smiled and passed away ! 

" Thy country's eyes have tears for thee ! 

Thy country's soul embalms thy name ! 
Thy talent grew, a fragrant tree, 

Fann'd by the genial airs of fame ! 
Amid a nation's tears and gloom, 

The thrilling sweetness of thy lyre 
Awoke her greatness from its tomb, 

And stirred her heart's blood into fire ! 

" What human heart can read, unmoved, 

The record of thy dying hour, 
When she, thy partner so beloved, 

Bent o'er thee, like a weeping flower ? 
Alas ! that souls so sweetly twined, 

Should from each other's love be torn ! 
Alas ! that hearts so pu»3 and kind 

As hers, should sigh and weep forlorn ? 

* Edward "Walsh was one of the sweetest contributors of Irish song to 
Duffy's Nation. He was a national teacher, and he died at a young age in 
1850. He is buried in the Botanic Gardens, at Cork, where his admirers 
have raised a neat monument over his remains. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 183 

" By silver Avon's misty wave, 

He won the treasure of her love ; 
And noble was the heart he gave 

Unsullied as the skies above ! 
And gentle as Loch Sheeling's swan, 

Was she, his spirit's worshipp'd bride, 
And love and beauty round her shone, 

With youth and virtue at her side ! 

" The breathings of his lofty soul 

Were turned to music in her praise ! 
His heart was Love's own banquet bowl, 

And she the bright wine of his days ! 
For Erin and his^Bridghid fair, 

His wild harp's notes were pour'd alone — 
For Erin and his Bridghid dear, 

His spirit thrill'd with one sweet tone ! 

" Ye hills and moors, and ferny dales, 

By fairy Avon's silent tide ! 
Ye groves and banks, and shamrock vales — 

No more he'll hail your vernal pride ! 
His sorrows and his toils are o'er, 

And keen privations suffer'd long — 
His gentle heart shall feel no more 

The genial powers of love and song !" 



TO THE MEMORY OF AN ENGLISH FRIEND. 

Lonely by the sounding Shannon, ' 

All day long I mourn'd and sigh'd, 
For my friend and loved companion 

Who in manhood's beauty died, 
Noble, manly feelings moved him 

Ireland's griefs to understand ; 
And I loved him — fondly loved him — 

For he loved the dear Old Land ! 

All her beauties lay before him, 

Like a feast before a king ; 
But her sorrow's cloud came o'er him, 

Like the melting mist of Spring ; 
And I blest his generous nature, 

And I press'd his gallant hand, 
When he curs' d the legislature 

That oppress'd the dear Old Land. 

] Tyrant autocrats he hated, 

With a free-born Briton's pride ; 

• But the toiling poor he treated, 
With respect he would not hide. 



184 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Spurned he every courtly bauble, 
Princely sham and gilded throne ; 

And his toast was — " Here's the People ! 
May the People win their own !" 

Oh, lost friend, I feel a burning, 

In my soul, that grasps my breath — 
Lonely by the river mourning — 

Mourning for thy early death ! 
While the lark from heaven's shadows, 

All his heart in love-songs pours 
To his sweetheart, in the meadows, 

Keeping house among the flowers. 

Often on the hill's dark heather, 

When the days were bright and long, 
Have we sat, in joy together, 

Listening to the wild-bird's song : 
Still he's soaring, warbling, sighing, 

Near the gold-fringe of the cloud ; 
I am here, and you are lying 

In the shadow of your shroud ! 

Like a plant, you grew and flourished ! 

Like a pearl, your heart was bright ! 
Like a flower, you fell and perished, 

Ere your May saw half its light? 
Summer's beauty all is lonely, 

Gloom is o'er the sunshine spread ; 
Summer's bloom brings sorrow only, 

Since my friendship's flower is dead ! 

For your voice I calmly listen, 

As the dreamy field- breeze sighs ; 
While my heart's hot crystals glisten 

On the wet fringe of my eyes ; 
Yet this softening grief grows dearer, 

As the summer's bloom wears on ; 
For it steals my spirit nearer 

To the heaven where you are gone ! ~ 

Every bird's song round me swelling, 

'Wakens some sweet memory ; 
Every bright wild-flower seems telling 

Some dear anecdote of thee ! 
And my fancy stops to hear it, 

With a fond responding tone, 
Just as spirit speaks to spirit, 

Language to this world unknown. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 185 

There's a*spirit-world around us— 

Yes, I feel its mystic sphere ! 
Ties of dust have merely bound us 

Fnom the glorious freedom there ! 
We are dead — the dead are living — 

We're in prison — they are free ; 
Time, our keeper's daily giving 

Notice of our liberty ! 



THE BARD OF THE BARROW. 
Am.— "The Wounded Hussar -." 

Sadly sings the fond Bard of the deep-rolling Barrow, 
From whose loving bosom his Mary has flown ; 

He met her in joy, but she left him in sorrow, 
And now he complains to the wild waves alone. 

Ah, ne'er did I dream we were fated to sunder, 

As we stray'd on thy wild banks, sweet river, by thee ! 

Ah, ne'er did I dream she was destined to wander, 
So soon, o'er the dark, awful ocean, from me ! 

Oh ! breeze of the West, o'er the broad billow sighing, 
Have you kiss'd her white brow, as she stood on the deck ? 

Have you play'd with the silk of her fair tresses flying, 
And courted the snow of her soft lily-neck ? 

Have you brought me a word from her pearly mouth, naming 
The name of the dear one left pining behind ? 

Have you brought me a wreath from her fair ringlets stream- 
ing? 
Oh ! give it to me, and I'll bless thee, sweet wind ! 

As in the green heart of some rich garden flushing, 
All radiant in flower, grows a young apple-tree ; 

With bright honey drops on its morning leaves gushing ; 
Oh I such in my heart were you, darling, to me ! 

But the thoughts of the soul than the west wind are fleeter, 

And those shall pursue and caress you afar ! 
The pulse of affection than honey is sweeter, 

And its fond thrill shall follow wherever you are ! 



YOUNG LOVE 

I remember the day I first greeted my love 
In the shade of yon bank's summer bow r ers ; 

When sweetly we linger'd along the wild grove, 
And sat in its bright lap of flowers. 
13 



186 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The light of her beauty and spell of her looks, 

Still the eye of fond mem'ry enhances ; 
Could the moralist teach, with his school-craft and books, 

The sweet language I learn'd in her glances ? 

Her ringlets of darkness were darker than streams 

Flowing blackly thro' snow-sheeted heather ; 
And her eyes were as sun-gems that shoot their young beams 

From a cloud's showery wing, in Spring-weather. 
And her small foot was light as the Cean-a-bhan's plume 

On a fairy bank's sunny moss lying ; 
And her voice, like a gale in a garden of bloom, 

O'er a bed of sweet strawberries sighing, 

Confiding and soft was the press of her hand — 

My heart ask'd me how would I leave her ? 
Oh ! no, I replied, for a prince's command, 

Would I harbour one thought to deceive her ! 
The thorns of care on our life-path may grow 

Yet while beauty's light is about her ; 
I'd rather reside in a cot poor and low 

Than dwell in a palace without her ! 

The mild blush of bashfulness, lit by a smile, 

O'er her cheek's berry freshness was stealing ; 
The Spirit of light that presides o'er our Isle, 

Could not look such sweet language of feeling. 
Her loveliness fill'd me with beautiful dreams, 

And I think, when the eve -winds are shaking 
Their winglets, in song, o'er the blossoms and streams, 

'Tis her lips' fairy music that's speaking. 



THE BEAUTIES OF QUINSBURGH.* 

Round Quinburgh's wild landscape and grove-skirted meadows, 
Beams the blue, cloudy zone of the grand mountain-shadows, 
When the yellow-brow'd sun, to his sea-palace going, 
Leaves his crimson-fringed scarf on the silent hills glowing. 
How oft, when the Spring- evening's glory was fading, 
And the wind in the woods its weird melody breathing, 
Have I sat 'mid the deep shades, wild love-pictures framing, 
Of Heavens, and Edens, and Star-worlds dreaming ? 
And the grandeur of night, as it deepen'd around me, 
With a wilder delight to the fairy spot bound me ; 
For each scene with a magical halo seem'd teeming, 
And spell-visions 'rose round my weird fancy beaming ! 

* A beautifully wooded landscape near the river Shannon, in the county 
Clare, one mile from Limerick. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 187 

O Quinsburg! bright queen of sweet landscapes, I love 

thee! 
For the golden sky always looks sunny above thee ! 
There the spirit of summer brings verdure the brightest, 
And incense the purest, and dew-falls the whitest I 
There radiant and rich in thy splendour, for ever, 
Transcendently fair, by the blue-gleaming river, 
Thou seem'st as full of enchantment embowering 
Thy green, airy lawns and thy gardens all flowering ! 

How sweet — from the frigid-eyed world retiring — 

To gaze on the beauty of Nature inspiring ! 

To freshen and feast, with her heaven-bright charms, 

The soul, 'till it melts into love in her arms ; 

Oh ! the heart that would coldly neglect or forsake her, 

Is alike dead and cold to the love of its Maker ! 

There are many who look on his glorious creation, 

Without one loving throb of the soul's adoration ! 

The humblest flower in the sunny fields blowing, 

Is a jewel that dropp'd from his gracious hand glowing ! 

See the beautiful gem — from its mossy throne take it — 

View it well, son of Art ! can you paint it or make it ? 

Philosopher, gaze on yon broad heaven bending ! 

Can thy science tell were 'tis beginning or ending ? 

How far is the light of yon fire -worlds flowing ? 

How long will those night-walking splendours be going ? 

Can you number those orbs in the ambient sky glancing ? 

Or reckon the leaves in the Summer- woods dancing ? 

Or May's vestal flowers and the dewdrops that feed them ? 

Yet what of thy love for the Spirit that made them ? 

Round Quinsburgh's wild landscape, when Summer is singing, 

For the love-child of Nature, what glories are springing ? 

What magic-toned harmony bursts from the bowers, 

As if Spirit-tongues spoke in the leaves and the flowers ? — 

There often the night at her solemn noon found me, 

With her ghost-haunted shades and her starry robes round 

me! 
Grand pictures from high, Angel-worlds she brought me, 
And the God-praising hymn of the rolling spheres taught me I 

Enchanted I stray'd by the shore's moonlit margin, 

Near the foam-bosom'd Falls o'er the weedy rocks charging* 

While my wild spirit danced, like a bride in her gladness, 

To the weird monotone of their war- shout of madness ! 

As they tost from their white battle-plumes, in their fleetnesd, 

Pearl-showers o'er the vernal shores sleeping in sweetness ; 

While the helmet of night, with its vapour-crest hoary, 

Blaz'd, o'er the dim earth, in a fire-gush of glory ; 



188 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And the streamers danced out o'er the aerial expansion, 
Like golden spears shot from the North's icy mansion ; 
And the meteors red-eyed, o'er the hazy woods springing, 
Seem'd spirits of flame thro' the Star-palace winging ! 

How wildly romantic looks Quinsburgh, when over 
Her bosom of flowers falls the eve's cloudy cover ? 
When the lightning's blue pinion emblazons the highland, 
And the angry flood raves round St. Thomas's Island ; 
When the dark towering crowns of the elms are swinging, 
While the tide and the tempest in concert are singing ; 
And the fairies, that in the wild hills are residing, 
On circles of flame, round the wood-tops are riding ; — 
Red fire-globes which gleam o'er the grove's sylvan barriers — 
Like helmets of gold on the dark brows of warriors ; 
While the river-mists stream, like the sea-maidens' ringlets, 
Curling round the tall bowers, on the blast's rushing winglets. 

Oh ! many an eve, 'mid those spell-wreathed shadows, 
When the May-sunset pour'd its red flood on the meadows ; 
Have I stray'd by that shore where the flower-buds were 

drinking 
Their first twilight-draught, while the Day-king was sinking. 
And the brier-rose and meadow-sweet, fragrantly blooming, 
With their spirit of odour the lawns were perfuming ; 
And the hawthorns, clouded with white blossoms tender, 
Look'd like Fairy-queens wrapt in their mantles of splendour. 

As a wizard, I sat by the deep-sounding torrent, 

'Till Day's yellow banner stream'd forth in the orient ; 

Like the first bright-eyed dawn, its resplendence unsealing, 

Creation in all its new grandeur revealing. 

Then rich was the flow of the forest-birds' numbers, 

As Nature, in music, awoke from her slumbers ; 

I thought of the hymns of the angel-choirs splendid, 

When the Lord from his work of Redemption ascended. 

How lovely is Quinsburgh, when morning is blushing 
On her dew-bathed groves, with their honey-tears gushing ; 
And their boughs, like glad minstrels, singing and dancing, 
With the sun's golden flame on their leafy heads glancing. 
With her lawns of mixt silver and emerald shining — 
With flowers, dropping sweets, in her gardens reclining — 
With her odour-wing'd zephyrs thro' fairy-shades flowing — 
With her bright orchard-treasures luxuriantly glowing— 
With her woodlands reposing in sunbeams serenest — 
With her parterres the sweetest and meadows the greenest, 
There the Bard's spirit, melting in grand inspiration, 
Would dream itself into some beauteous creation : 
There the saintly soul, kindling with holy emotion, 
Would soar to her God, in a trance of devotion. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 189 

Oft, when morn, with her love-songs and diamond-bright 

showers, 
Was walking in joy o'er this Eden of flowers ; 
The eyes of my soul on her beauty were feasted, 
'Till her last drop of dew in the noon-flame was wasted. 
The crystal-edged clouds — the bright sapphire hills cresting, 
Leant their bosoms of gold on their sunny thrones resting ; 
Whilst flinging young gems, from their fringes of whiteness, 
On the flowers in the vales laughing up at their brightness ; 
Then weaving their tints of soft-shadowy vermilion 
And yellow, and green — o'er the Day-god's pavilion, 
In a grand glistening crescent of glory extended 
They shine — making heaven's sun-splendours more splendid. 

How radiantly then — when the summer has crown'd it — 

Looks Quinsburgh, with Nature's enchantments around it ; 

Before it the blue-bosom'd river extending, 

Behind it the purple-brow'd mountains ascending ; 

Beside it rich pastures redundantly flowing 

With sweet milk and honey, and golden fruits glowing : 

While the Shannon's clear waves, in their beamy dance 

bright'ning, 
Flash down by the scene, like a conflict of lightning. 



THE HILLS OF BALLYCARR.* 

'Twas morning, and the sweets of May 

Enrich'd the balmy-scented air ; 
When pleasantly I took my way 

To see the hills of Ballycarr ; 
The bright sky's beamy summer-blue 
Hath not a cloud-frown, near or far, 
To dim its glorious, glistening hue 
Above the hills of Ballycarr. 

Green are the vales of Ballycarr ! 
Bright are the plains of Ballycarr ! 
And wild, and grand as fairyland, 
Appear the hills of Ballycarr ! 

Amid the purple-blossom'd broom 

I rested on the mountain-height — 
Below me Nature slept in bloom, 

Above me heaven was steep'd in light. 
The winds' sweet dewy-breathings seem'd 

The whispering of a maiden's prayer, 
Or spirit, that of Eden dream'd, 

Upon the hills of Ballycarr. 

Green are the vales of Ballycarr, &c. 

♦ Those romantic hills form a grand outline to the scenery of Quins- 
burgh. 



190 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

I gazed along the valley's shade, 

O'er glistening rings of sun-bright dew ; 
When, lo ! a stately peasant maid, 

As fair as morning, met my view. 
Her brow was like a cloudlet white 

That crescents day's majestic star ; 
Her hair, like winter's moonless night 

Upon the hills of Ballycarr. 

Green are the vales of Ballycarr, &c. 

As some wild vision of delight, 

I look'd upon this rustic queen, 
Who seem'd, before my dreaming sight, 

The Angel of the mountain-scene. 
An Empress, with her courtly train, 

Hath not, 'mid all her pompous glare, 
The grace and state of step and mien 

That mark'd this maid of Ballycarr. 

Green are the vales of Ballycarr, &c. 

Fair are the maids by Lee's green side, 

With silken ringlets dark and brown ; 
And bright as May, by Avon's tide, 
Appear the girls of Mallow town, 
But Beauty on a golden throne, 

To Fancy's eye, ne'er look'd so fair, 
As did this simple, lovely one, 
Among the hills of Ballycar. 

Green are vales of Ballycarr ! 
Bright are the plains of Ballycarr ! 
And wild, and grand, as fairyland, 
Appear the hills of Ballycarr ! 



THE CITY OF THE KINGS.* 

Scene. — The Dalcassians and Eugenians, assembled at a feast 
in the Palace of Kinkora, join in the following war-song, 
anticipating the battle ofClontarf 

Strong are the towers of Almhainf — and Emaina's:}: halls are 

grand! 
But Cormac's radiant palace§ stands the glory of the land ! 
Thro* Eire her richest tribute to Imperial Tara brings, * 

Yet valour's royal house is in the City of the Kings. 

* Cashel. + The Palace of Fionn and the ancient Fenians. 

t Palace of the Red Branch Knights in Ulster. ? The Palace of Cashel. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 191 

The Red Branch Knights were fierce in war, as Saimer's 

bursting wave — 
The Clan-a-Morna* mighty in the combats of the Brave ; 
But, like eagles in a lightning- cloud, the Clan-a-Deighaf 

springs, 
Impetuous to the battle, from the City of the Kings. 

Unsheath your flaming brands of death ! the Dane is on 

our shore — 
Rise, glorious race of Cormac Cas and Royal Eogain More ! 
Hew down the pirate, while the bard the "Eye of Battle" 

sings, 
And return with new glory to the City of the Kings ! 

Then draw your golden-hilted swords, r and lift our Sunburst 
high I 

Let the mountains to each other shout your dreadful battle- 
cry ;— 

When Brian sets in fierce array his legions' fiery wings, 

Who dare withstand Kinkora and the City of the Kings ? 

We have war-steeds, like the fire-wings of the tempest in 

its flight, 
We have bosoms, like the hill-crags in their solid mountain 

might ; 
We have hearts within those manly veins a well of valour 

springs, 
When fighting for Kinkora and the City of the Kings ! 

We love Mononia's sunny vales — we bleed to right her 

wrongs — 
Our bounding souls are shared among her daughters and her 

songs ! 
We have graves for the Invader whom the thirst of rapine 

brings 
To the bright plains of Kinkora and the City of the Kings ! 

We love our Chiefs and Princes, Priests and Brehons, Bards 

and all 
The heroes that assemble in our noble palace-hall ; 
We have kine and silken mantles, festive-bowls and golden 

rings,— 
And swords to guard Kinkora and the City of the Kings ! 

On, like torrents, to the combat — sweep the spoilers from 

our fields ! 
Hurl the lightning of your axes on the Northmen's iron 
m shields ! 
Let your javelins, thro' their armour, plunge into their hearts' 

red springs, 
And shout ye for Kinkora and the City of the Kings ! 

* The Knights of Connaught. + The Knights of Munster. 



192 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Oh ! to see our axes shattering the broad targets of the Dane, 

As if a shower of meteor-stars were falling on the plain ! 

Oh ! to hear — when victory o'er our ranks has spread her 

crimson wings — 
How our war-songs shake Kinkora and the City of the Kings ! 



KATHLEEN. 

Blue are the eyes of my Kathleen, 

Bright are her long yellow ringlets ; 
Airy her steps on the village-green — 

Light as the May-zephyr's winglets. 
Warm as the sun on the mountain-lawn, 

Sweet as the heath of Knocf eirin ; 
Tender and soft as the Cean-a-bhan, 

Fleet as the breezes of Erin. 

Loving and kind is my Kathleen, 

Constant and true to her duty ; 
Faithful and fond is my little-queen — 

Humble yet matchless in beauty. 
Pure as the lights that adorn 

The cold starry nights of November — 
Chaste as the calm beam of morn 

Upon the snow-hills of December. 

All day, by the rushing blue river, 

I dreamt of my Erin and thee, love ! 
For you are the beautiful giver 

Of many a sweet thought to me, love ! 
I'd rather live poor in my Mother-land, 

With thy dear young smile at my side, love ! 
Than reign a high prince in another land, 

With an heiress of crowns for my bride, love ! 

Soft is the voice of my Kathleen, 

Her song is a love-thrill of sweetness ; 
Like a spell-breathing harp of a fairy queen, 

Touch'd by the wind in its fleetness. 
To me thou art honey and wine, my love ! 

Girl of the blue eye of brightness, 
My spirit is tangled in thine, my love, 

Queen of the swan-neck of whiteness. 

She is so gentle and dutiful, 

Heaven is smiling about her ; 
She is so bashful and beautiful 

Earth hath no idol without her — 
All around Shannon's green, sunny shades, 

Summer's bright hours' I have squander 'd — 
For she was the rose among many maids, 

To whom my heart's longings hath wattid^f'd. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 193 



SOUL- ASPIRATIONS. 

Speak kindly, oh, my loved one ! for thy kindness is to me, 

Like the honied voice of morning in the flowering apple- 
tree ; 

And my craving heart has hunger'd for thy loving accents 
long, 

With a poet's burning rapture when he feels the fire of song ! 

I have painted glowing glories in imagination's hall, 

But thy heaven-surrounded portrait was the sun that lit 

them all ; 
And my thoughts of earthly splendour, and my dreams of 

worlds above, 
Were but things of desolation to the beauty of thy love ! 

My heart was as a worm, when it wander'd from thee first, 
Immersed in scenes unhallow'd, and in love with gilded dust ; 
And my garden knew no sunbeam, and its weedy springs 

were mute, 
For its Maytime brought no blossoms and its harvest-time 

no fruit ! 

Oh ! let thy love-light sun it into buds and odours sweet, 
'Till my gushing spirit melts to liquid crystal at thy feet ; 
And I'll hold thee in the chamber of the palace of my soul, 
As the lily holds the dew-pearl in its tender snowy bowl. 

And I'll seek thee in the temples where thy banquets of 

delight, 
With the glory-breathing presence of thy loveliness are bright; 
'Till my soul, steep'd in the beauty and the radiance of thine 

own, 
Shall be as a sun-kiss'd blossom, with no cloud-shade o'er 

it thrown ! 

Lonely strayed I in the desert, in the fiery noontide-hour, 
But its waters were all bitter and its dying fruits all sour ; 
And my heart was parch'd to ashes, like the grass that 

round me lay, 
Where the flaming eye of heaven had consumed its green 

away. 

And my thirst was as a furnace, and my dreary soul was 

black 
As the inky cloud of winter on the mountain's frozen back ; 
But thy glowing love pursued me, where all desolate I 

stray'd, 
Like the golden-footed morn weeping o'er a blighted shade. 



194 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Then the fountains of thy beauty flash'd before my spirit's 

eyes, 
And the brightness of thy vineyards where the summer never 

dies ; 
And thy gorgeous palace-gardens where the snow-pure virgins 

rove, 
With the stainless airs around them fresh with breathings of 

thy love ! 

Ay ! when Midnight's burning crescent o'er the silvery blue 

of space, 
Was shining in the shadow of the glories of thy face ; 
I floated on the pinions of the angel of my dreams, 
Into the glowing Eden of thy pastures and thy streams ! 

And I saw, or thought I saw thee in thy dazzling bower of 

light, 
With eternal sun-worlds round thee, that were never track'd 

by night ; 
And thy face was as the rainbow in the sapphire arch of day, 
And thine eyes had living heavens, throng'd with spirits, in 

their ray. 

And the star-halls of resplendence, where thy lightning- throne 

is placed, 
Are built of myriad planets on unbounded ether based — 
But the floods of grandeur faded o'er my vision's darken'd 

wings, 
And I 'woke on earth's black bosom where the worm is king 

of kings. 



DEATH-SONG OF THE BARDS OF TYRONE AND 
TYRCONNELL.* 

AFTER THE BATTLE OF KINSALE, A.D., 1602. 

The red stars flash'd in the cold blue sky, 

And the ghostly moon look'd sad and dim ; 
And the cloudy haze of the midnight hills, 

O'er the darken'd vales began to swim ; 
And a tear of blood from each red-eyed star, 

On night's gray bosom, seem'd bursting forth ; 
For famine, and pestilence, and war, 

Had done their grisly work in the North. 
The herds were slaughter'd — the bawns were burn'd, 

And keep and castle lay overthrown ; 
Wherever the startled vision turn'd, 

Wreck, and ruin, and death were strown — 

* This Death-drama was written with a view to the dire and devastated 
State of Ireland, after the death of Red Hugh O'Donnell, and the surrender 
Of Hugh O'Neill to Lord Mountjoy. The resistance of these two great 
Chiefs against English'power lasted for thirteen years. They fell by native 
treachery, and the&isfake of the Spaniards' landing at Kinsale. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 195 

Havoc and vengeance, fire and sword 

Had ravaged the blacken' d valleys round ; 
The living fed upon the dead, 

And every spot was charnel ground ; 
For the demon-hand of the fierce Mountjoy, 

Had done the mission of England well ; 
And he swept the plains of Green Tyrone ; 

Like the burning fury and wrath of hell. 
The soul of a Nation was strangled there, 

And its mightiest sons dispersed or slain — 
O'Neill was crush'd in his lion-lair, 

And the brave O'Donnell was dead in Spain. 
The Judgment Day of Eire was come, 

And the Angel of death stood on her shore ; 
And the lips of tyrants proclaim'd her doom, 

" Eire of the s Kings, a Nation no more !" 
'Mid the deep-dark woods of Glancolkeane,* 

Sat two gray bards on a rock moss-grown : 
One was Tyrconnell's minstrel old, 

And one the Ard Filea of high Tyrone. 



Far from their Chieftains' plunder'd towers, 

They shunn'd the Invader's sword of blood ; 
Their refuge was the forest-bowers, 

Their food the berries of the wood. 
The moonbeams thro' the rocking boughs, 

Gleam' d fitful on their coluns white, 
That, round their solitary brows, 

Flow'd on the wailing winds of night. 
With trembling hands their harps they strung, 

For one last tribute to the Brave — 
With burning tears, by turns, they sung 

A requiem o'er their Country's grave. 



BARD OF TYRONE. 

The glory of Tyrone is fled — 

The splendour of her Prince is gone — 
The regal birds of Eire are dead — 

WeaK is the race of Nial and Conn — 
The sword of death is in our vales — 

The hand of ruin blots our homes — 
Our hills resound with grievous wails — 

Our fields are fill'd with reeking tombs ! 



• An inaccessible mountain fastness in O'Kean's Country of Araghty, to 
which Hugh O'Neill, with the remnant of his clans, retreated after his 
defeat at Kinsale. 



196 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

The Banshee chants her churchyard song, 

In Hugh O'Donnell's roofless hall ; 
And desolation sits among 

The broken towers of Donegal !* 
Tyrconnell of the shields of light, 

And royal feasts and golden bowls ! 
Where are thy flaming arms of might ? 

Thy fiery swords and valiant souls ? 
Thy comely prince lies distant far, 

A withering corpse, in Spanish clay — 
Our guard -tower in the day of war, 

Our guide-star of the battle's sea ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

Oh ! burning grief and galling woe ! 

That I should live to see the time 
That laid our country trampled low, 

Beneath the heel of foreign crime ! 
Accursed be thy plain, Kinsale ! 

There may no blade nor blossom bud, 
But every field, and dell, and vale, 

For ever wear the hue of blood ! 
May herb and tree to ashes rot, 

And heaven draw a veil of gloom, 
For ever, o'er that bloody spot, 

Where Erin's freedom found a tomb ! 

God's awful midnight f thunders spoke 

The doom of Erin, o'er thy plain ; 
His lightning wrote, with fiery stroke, 

Our Nation's sentence, "to be slain !" 
The mountains heard the dire decree, 

And bow'd their heads, with echoing groans — 
The tempest told it to the sea — 

The angels wept upon their thrones ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNEL. 

Would ! I had fall'n in freedom's fight, 
Brave battling by my Chieftain's side ! 

Would ! I had never seen the light, 
Or in my mother's arms died ! 

* The once magnificent Castle of Donegal, the residence of Red Hugh 
O'Donnell, was demolished by the Chieftain himself, before embarking for 
Spain, in order to prevent the English from turning it into a garrison."— 
Four Masters' Annals. 

+ The annals also say that for several nights before the battle 
of Kinsale, the most awful thunder, lightning and tempest prevailed. It 
seemed to be a union of the elements chanting a requiem for the approach- 
ing death of Ireland's National Independence. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 197 

Would, that my sight was pluck'd away, 

By ravens, from each bleeding ball, 
Ere I had lived to see the day, 

That seal'd my wretched country's fall ! 

BARD OF TYRONE, 

May Freedom's God curse Thomond's land — 

May every hill-side be a grave, 
Dug by a foreign tyrant's hand, 

To wrap a vile, degenerate slave ! 
May plague and famine, sword and fire, 

Consume her to the rotten heart, 
And burn her lords who, false to Eire, 

Espoused the godless spoilers' part ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

The fierce O'Donnell swept the plains 
Of Thomond's Earl, and slew his men ; 

And loaded with degrading chains 
The shameless traitor, Inchiquin ! 

Alas ! that the illustrious blood 
v Of him who scourged the heathen Danes, 

Should turn, a vile corrupted flood, 
In his apostate offspring's veins ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

'Twas not the cruel Saxon sword 

That wrought my Chieftain's overthrow ; 
Clontibret, or the Yellow Ford, 

Had not the glory of the blow ! 
'Twas native treachery and guile, 

And Munster's weakness, traitor-sown ; 
That vanquish'd on his fathers' soil, 

The gallant Chieftain of Tyrone ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

'Twas not a foreign foeman's hand 

That laid in dust my brave Hugh Roe ; 
Tyrconnell's champion, great and grand, 

Would never yield to mortal foe ! 
A bleeding heart for Erin's woe, — * 

A burning soul to rive her chain, 
Consumed his life, and laid him low, 

Far in the golden land of Spain ! 

* "King Philip was so deeply touched by Red Hugh's appeal, that he gave 
orders to have another armament got ready to sail for Ireland ; but this was 
countermanded, owing to false reports of O'Neill's surrender. The fiery 
O'Donnell was on his way again to the King to urge his request, but his 
great heart broke, and he died suddenly. He was buried with royal 
honours ; and the Chapter of Valladolid holds the bones of as stout a 
warrior as ever wielded the wand of Chieftaincy, or led a Clan to battle*"— 
John Mitchell. 



198 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

BAUD OF TYRONE. 

Fierce Hugh O'Neill, in armour clad, 

Was like an ice-isle on the deep, 
Directed by the wrath of God, 

To cleave in twain some guilty ship ! 
His rage was like the fiery blast 

That burns and eats the springing corn ; 
His glance, like heaven's first sun-ray cast 

Into the golden heart of morn ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

O'Donnell, in the day of fight, 

Was like Loch Saimer's headlong surge 
When, rolling in its reckless might, 

It tumbles on the shore's white verge ! 
His sword was like the awful light 

That reddens heaven before a storm ; 
The eagle, in his wildest flight, 

Hath not the vigour of his arm ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

Rich were my hero's beamy locks, 

Soft curling on his marble neck ; 
Like wintry mist on mountain-rocks, 

Where lies the snow without a speck ! 
His brow was like a summer-cloud, 

Asleep in morning's arch of light ; 
The eagle's gaze was not so proud, 

The bow of showers was not so bright ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

The towering pine of Donegal, 

That spurns the vengeance of the storm ; 
Was not so graceful, strong, and tall, 

As Hugh O'Donnell's princely form ! 
The Autumn, with its yellow store, 

Was not more generous than his soul ; 
The torrent, in its dashing power, 

Would tamely brook as much control ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

My Hugh O'Neill was like the sun 

Of a spring evening, soft and clear, 
When round the mountain's yellow throne, 

Thin, silvery dew-mists fill the air ! 
His voice was as the gentle fall 

Of waters in a floral shade — 
His soul was like a regal hall, 

Where gold and brilliant gems are laid ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 199 



BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

O'Donnell's hair was bright and fine, 

As ringlets of a fairy girl ; 
His cheek was like rich-blushing wine 

Pour'd newly in a bowl of pearl ! 
The spirit of the wintry deep, — 

With ocean's sceptre, dark and grand, 
'Waking the billows from their sleep — 

Hath not his proud glance of command ! 



BARD OF TYRONE. 

The day when Niall's Red Right Hand* 

Stream'd brightly from Dungannon's tower, 
To 'rouse the vengeance of the land, 

'Gainst foreign treachery and power ; 
I saw the fierce and mighty Hugh 

Surrounded by his warrior clan, 
Awful, as if the War-god threw 

His fiery mantle o'er the man ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

I mind the day when proud Red Hughf 

With all Clan Connaill at his back ; 
O'er Connaught, like a whirlwind flew, 

While fire and ashes mark'd his track ! 
The war-flames thro' the vales blazed red — 

And Bingham's cruel brigand-horde, 
Like stricken bloodhounds, headlong fled 

Before the vengeful Chieftain's sword ! 



BARD OF TYRONE. 

My soul dreams back the glorious hours, 

When from Blackwater's winding shore, 
The brave O'Neill swept — walls and towers — 

The frowning fortress of Portmore ! 
And with his line of battle set, 

All strong to do and brave to dare, 
Smash'd Norrey's host, at Clontibret, 

And trampled England's banner there ! 

* He crossed the Saimaf and swept through Connaught, like a hail-storm* 
and put to death every man who could speak no Irish. Bingham, the cruel 
governor of the province, flew before him and shut himself up in his fortress 
of Sligo. 

t "At length the day arrived when the country, with stern joy, beheld the 
Red Right Hand of O'Neill, streaming from Dungannon's towers, waving 
defiance to the Saxon Queen." — John Mitchell. 



200 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

Thro' Annally's broad region flamed 

The stern Hugh Roe's destructive brand,* 
'Till one black-rolling smoke-cloud stream'd, 

O'er heaven, from the burning land ! 
And never did the wrathful Conn, 

Or Niall, in his deadliest ire, 
More fiercely o'er a realm sweep on, 

With such dread wreck of sword and fire ! 



BARD OF TYRONE. 

The ghost of many a Saxon Knight, 

Has sigh'd o'er Drumfluich's reeking plain ;t 
Where, in the crimson surge of fight, 

The flower of England's host was slain ; 
Proud Lord De Burgh and stern Kildare, 

And Vaughan fierce, and Waller brave, 
Sank in the battle's furnace there, 

Where half their army shared their grave ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

I saw Tyrconnell's Prince, that day, 

Begirt with waves of flame and blood, 
Like some dread spirit of the sea, 

Fierce striding 'mid the stormy flood. 
The columns waver'd where his steel 

Its cleaving blows of vengeance struck ; 
Like pine-woods on the desert-hill, 

By dark November- tempests shook ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

As fire devours the wither'd grass, 

Of Autumn, in a sultry vale ; 
So sank the battle's reeling mass 

Before the strong sword of O'Neill ; 
And Avon Dhu's gore-purpled wave, Z 

Retiring from his crimson banks, 
To Loch Naigh's dancing billows gave 

Red tidings of the slaughter'd ranks ! 

* He entered the Aimallys where O'Farrell was living under English 
domination, and so fiercely did he ravage and devastate that country, 
that the heavens became black with the smoke of his burnings. 

+ "The Battle of Drumfluich, in which O'Neill gained a great victory 
over Lord Kildare and the English army." — John Mitchell. 

X " The River Blackwater, which flows into Lough Neagh. It was called 
'black? on account of the many disastrous defeats which the English 
suffered there at the hands of Hugh O'Neill and his intrepid clansmen. "~ 
Moryson'8 Hist. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 201 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

Stern Clifford of the bloody spears, 

In Corsliabh mountain-glen lies dead ; — 
On his fierce host of musketeers, 

The greedy wolves and eagles fed — 
There haughty England's iron might, 

By Red Hugh's fury was consumed ; 
The mouldering bones of many a knight, 

In bush and fern, lie there entomb'd ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

The red plain of the Yellow Ford, 

Shall long a tale of slaughter tell ; 
Where, by Tyrone's victorious sword, 

The mighty host of Bagnal fell .' 
Dark centuries shall renew the tale, 

And future Irishmen shall say, 
" Great was the triumph of the Gael — 

God send us such another day I" 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

Grand, god-like, glorious were the Brave, 

In all the terror of their arms — 
The winter's wrath, the mad sea-wave — 

The angry heaven convulsed with storms — 
The whirlwind, with its crest of flame — 

The river tearing thro' its banks — 
To them were harmless things and tame, 

When charging on the Saxon ranks ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

And has their star of victory set ? 

And has their sun of glory fled ? 
And will their fallen country yet 

Remember how they fought and bled ? 
Oh, proud O'Neill ! oh, princely Celt ! 

Oh ! would to God ! I saw you die ! 
Ere you in low submission knelt, 

Before that bloody fiend, Mount joy !* 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

My heart is like a serpent's nest, 
All full of bitterness and stings ; — 

My soul is troubled and distress'd 
Eor thee, O'Donnell, son of Kings ! 

* "A.D. 1603. Hugh O'Neill, now sixty years of age, worn with care and 
toil, and battle, and in deep sorrow of soul for the miseries of his faithful 
clansmen, met the Lord Deputy Mountjoy, in peaceful guise, at Mellifont, 
and there, on bended knees, tendered his submission. But if O'Neill had 
known that the Queen was dead, he probably would have adopted some 
other policy instead of surrendering, as he afterwards bitterly repented his 
act when he heard of her demise."— John Mitchell. 

14 



202 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And tho' no Irish hymn, nor prayer, 
Was breathed o'er thy winding-sheet 

I'd rather see thee lying there, 
Than kneeling at a tyrant's feet ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

O'Neill's high, kingly soul was proud, 

And towering as his Red Right Hand ; 
'Twas for his people's sake he bow'd, 

To stay the spoiler's murderous brand ! 
When heaven's face is all on fire, 

From east to west, from south to north, 
The haughty eagle must retire, 

For refuge, to the hateful earth ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

Oh ! had the brave O'Donnell lived, 

O'Neill would still be nobly great ; 
And bleeding Ireland would be saved, 

Despite of England, hell, and fate ! 
The key-stone of her cause was gone, 

The proud arch could no longer stand y— 
God, for the race of Niall and Conn, 

Holds some black destiny in hand ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

Yes, he has made a ruthless scourge 

Of the relentless and unjust ; 
The crimson sins of Eire to purge, 

And bow her glory to the dust ! 
The brothers' blood by brothers shed, 

For ages on her reeking plains ; 
Hath roused his anger, burning red, 

To brand our country's brow, like Cain's ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

Now on her bier of slaughter dead, 

In ashes, stark, deform'd, she lies ; 
The grandeur of her proud face fled — 

Quench'd is the glory of her eyes ! 
Oh, Lady of illustrious seed ! 

Resplendent, queenly Innisfail ! 
Art thou, at last a broken reed, 

Accurst, beneath a monster's heel ? 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

We weep for thee, fallen One ! 

For thou hadst many virtues bright ! — 
Thy faults, like spots upon the sun, 

Were halo'd with a glow of light ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 203 

Thy open, hospitable hand 

Was filled with plenteous gifts for all ! — 
Oh ! bright-soul'cl, golden-hearted Land ! 

How dark and dreadful is thy fall ? 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

Within her once gay palace halls, 

The purple-crested thistle springs ; 
And o'er the chilly, oozing walls 

The raven shakes his ebon wings ; 
The spirit of the past is there, 

Dark, weeping o'er the ruins gray ; 
Even silence seems to shed a tear 

Upon the shroud of their decay ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

Our noble forests ar' r 1 down — 

Our lordly CastL ., ^ssr stand ; 
And hill and hamlet, vale and town, 

Show death -marks of the spoiler's hand !* 
„ Our bright plains into graveyards turn'd — 

The altars of our God defiled ; — 
Our virgins stain'd — our dwellings burn'd — 

Our warriors murder'd or exiled ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

I saw the grim wolves o'er their meal 
Of grisly trunks their white tusks gnash ; 

I saw gaunt children, in the vale, 

Devouring their dead mother's flesh !f 

* " Tyrone was so dreadfully ravaged by fire and sword, that no tongue 
or pen could depict the terrors which swept that fair region, with devastat- 
ing vengeance. The horrible excess of burning and slaughter which took 
place there, in the summer of 1603, under Lord Mountjoy, Carew, and Chi' 
Chester, infinitely surpassed the worst excesses of the heathen Danes or of 
the Bastard Norman, himself."— John Mitchell. 

t This thrilling circumstance is mentioned by|John Mitchell in his "Life 
of Hugh O'Neill." He also quotes the remarks of Morrison, on the awful 
condition to which the people of the North were reduced: "No spectacle 
was more frequent in the'ditches of towns, and especially of wasted countries 
than to see multitudes of the poor people dead, with their mouths all coloured 
green by eating nettles, docks, and all things they could rend up above the 
ground, &c." A new mode of warfare planned by artful Cecil and carried 
out by Lord Mountjoy. They employed their soldiery to burn and trample 
the growing crops into the earth, and slaughter the cattle in the fields and 
on the hills, leaving the carcasses to rot and breed pestilence. By this 
diabolical process they created a wide-spread famine which ravaged the 
country so dreadfully that a thousand dead bodies could be counted from 
Toom to Tulloghoge, reduced to gaunt skeletons, and many of the living 
fed upon the corpses, until Ulster became one horrid charnal-house to man 
and beast. 

Thus ended a war that cost England nearly 200,000 men, and twenty 
millions of her treasure, and from the face of Ireland swept away more 
than one half of the population. 



204 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

I saw, around the desert wastes, 
Women, and half- expiring men, 

Crawling on knees and hands, like beasts, 
To feed on grass and herbage green ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

Near yonder ravine's gloomy mouth, 

Six lovely maidens famish'd lie ; 
The ravens pluck' d their blue eyes out, 

And hardly gave them time to die, 
Before they dipt their black beaks foul 

Into those starry orbs, once bright, 
Where purity's own seraph soul 

Was swimming in their wells of light ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

Every dismal wir '"' ^ hear, 

Is pregnant witn ..^ne dying breath ; 
Every sound that strikes our ear, 

Echoes the awful moan of death ! 
Methinks the stars are dead men's eyes, 

Red-peering thro' the ghastly gloom ; 
And every black-cloud, in the skies, 

Appears a harbinger of doom ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

God ! by whose mysterious will, 
Our perished country thus lies low, 

We pray to thy great mercy still, 
^ To break the sword that gave the blow ! 

To look, with pity from thy throne, 
Upon our anguish and our fears, 

And hear a martyr'd Nation's groan, 
Prostrate in ashes, blood and tears ! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

God ! who cleft the deep Red Sea, 

And open'd, thro' the mighty mass 
Of waves, a safe and solid way 

To let thy chosen people pass ! 
Look on thy faithful, bleeding Eire, 

With worse than Pharaoh -bondage bow'd ! 
And o'er the gloom of her despair 

Show thy fire-pillar thro' the cloud ! 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

God ! whose vengeful arm o'erthrew 
The crime-stain' d city's gilded towers ! 

God ! whose wrathful angel slew 
The dark Assyrian's legion-powers ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 205 

God ! who succours the oppressed ! 

Behold our country's misery ! 
Powerless and stricken in the dust, 

She turns her dying eyes to Thee! 

BARD OF TYRCONNELL. 

God! whose lightning-anger blaz'd 

Down in a flood of fiery rain, 
And, with dire vengeance, wrapt and razed 

The guilty cities of the plain ! 
Oh ! bounteous and unbounded Godj[ 

Behold our country reeking red ! ' 
Oh! let her agony and blood 

Weigh heavy on the oppressor's head. 

BARD OF TYRONE. 

God ! whose bleeding shoulders bore 

The cross to save man's worthless race! 
God! whose sacred flesh was tore 

By mockers and blasphemers base ! 
Pity our torn, tortured land, 

By renegade apostates slain ! — 
Oh! stretch thy all-redeeming hand, 

To raise her from the grave again ! 



EILEEN'S DREAM. 

On the wild, breezy banks of the murmuring Lora, 

The crimson-tinged banner of sunset was thrown ; 
When the Flower of Glencarrig, sweet Eileen MacCaura, 
,' v By the echoing river, sat weeping alone. 

No more in the halls of her father delighted, 

She joined in the dance of the light-footed dames; 

For grief — and the image of him whom she slighted, 
Had darken'd her spirit and clouded her dreams. 

Her fair bosom rivall'd the dark river's sobbing, 
And the twilight blast sigh'd, like a dirge, in her ears ; ^ 

As she press'd her white hands on her sad temples throbbing, 
And bent her pale face in a passion of tears. 

She mark'd not the shades growing denser and deeper, 
As the gray wings of eve turn'd black in the west ; 

For the shadow that lay on the soul of the weeper, 
Was dark as the ghost-cloud that mantles night's breast. 

"My Owen!" she cried, "there was never a raven 
Show'd a plume to the sun, like the rings of your hair ! 

And there is not a beam on the star-brow of heaven, 
More pure than your heart — than your bosom more fair! 



206 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

"Return, oh! return to thine Eileen MacCaura! 

'Twas my pride, not my heart, that was cruel to thee! 
And while I pretended to smile at thy sorrow, 

The keen shaft recoil' d with a vengeance on me! 

"I knew you were faithful — I felt that you loved me, 
And have I rewarded thy fondness, with pain! 

But, oh! could the tears of a wretched heart move thee, 
Thou would'st forgive me, and come back again!" 

Her voice became faint — for a wild blast rush'd shrieking 
Thro' the shrill-whistling briers, like a lost Spirit's sigh ; 

And the waves, in their foamy march, dismally breaking, 
Seem'd to sink to their caves, with a hoarse, ghostly cry. 

The black, heavy clouds o'er the firmament drifted, 

Like islands of gloom in the ocean of space ; 
And the sad, sullen moon, as they lazily shifted, 

Thro' their wind-torn bosoms half-show'd her white face. 

Who stands on the bank near the desolate maiden? 

'Tis Owen — the night-shades seem'd bound on his brow — 
An angel, eternally banish'd from Eden, 

Could only appear like her sad lover now: 

A moment the winds ceased their monotone weary, 

A moment the voice of the waters was still ; 
And a faint, transient gleam from the night-lamp, so dreary, 

Lit his cheek, like the white freezing haze of the hill. 

'Tis he — but she feels a cold trembling of terror, 
Like frosty wind, over her heart-fountains creep ; 

'Tis he — but he breathes not a word, nor moves near her, 
And his face, like the moon, seems in silence to weep. 

"Oh ! speak, dearest youth !" — half in sorrow and gladness, 
"Forgive me, and pity my folly!" — she said ; 

'But he only replied, in a strange tone of sadness, 
"Farewell! 'till we meet in the land of the dead!" 

Again the bleak wind's dreary whistle resounded, 

And the clouds, like black spectre-ships, swam o'er the sky ; 

And the waves, with an angry shout, sullenly bounded, 
And the lonely owl shriek' d 'mid the darkness on high. 

Affrighted she gaz'd on the brow of her lover, 
And death in the gloom of its shadow was there ; 

A moment around her his form seem'd to hover, 
Then wasted away, like a vapour in air. 

As the wind-spirit's wrath blights the young summer-willow, 
Or the dark-tassell'd reed by the marge of the lake ; 

Young Eileen sank down by the surf-cover'd billow, 
As powerless, defenceless, as slender and weak. 



LAYS AND LEG^NBS OF THOMOND. 207 

The purple-robed morn was radiantly looking, 

With warm tears of joy, on the death-throes of night ; 

And the sun in his diadem'd grandeur was walking 
The clear, crystal hall of his palace of light. 

And Eileen awoke, with a wild look of wonder. 

And a prayer on her virgin-lips blessing God's name ; 

For the morn, in her own downy couch, laugh'd around her 
And her nightly adventure was all a dark dream. 

"Now surely!" she murmur'd, " 'Twas God sent the warn- 
ing, 

<4 I'll take it— away thou false demon, dark pride ! 
And ere the sun pencill'd another bright morning, 

Young Owen and Eileen were bridegroom and bride ! 

KING MAHON AND OEBHINN, THE BANSHEE. 

A LEGEND OF CRAIGHLEA.* 

When the glory of eve in the red west was dying, 

With its last yellow sheet on the mountain's breast lying, 

King Mahon ascended Craighlea's rocky height, 

Where the black heather slept, half in darkness and light ; 

The ebony clouds spread their curtains of gloom, 

O'er the wild, dreary desert of fern and broom ; 

And no echo was heard on the plain or the hill, 

For all, save the deep-sounding river, was still. 

But why does the monarch, unarm'd and alone, 
Climb the tall, misty crags of the hill's airy throne, 
At this weird, solemn hour when the spirit of light 
Lies dead at the desolate portals of night? 
None knows— for he stole unobserved from the hall, 
When the red twilight shades were beginning to fall- 
But his clansmen believed that he often went there, 
At night, to commune with a Spirit of air. 
There's a gray rock that rests in the deep heather-brown, 
Like a huge jewel set in the mountain's high crown ; 
And there the old Bards and the Seanachies said, 
White Oebhinn, the Banshee, her wild dwelling made. 
And there, when the night-silver gleam'd on the heath, 
She dismally chanted her anthem of death ; 
But more ominous still, on the eve of a fray, 
Was the soul of grief's language express'd in her lay. 

The dark, topmost summit King Mahon has gain'd, 
Where one dim streak of twilight yet faintly remain d ; 
And he faced the gray rock where a white figure shone, 
Like a queen's marble bust seated tall on the stone : 

* On the summit there is a large lock, called Oebhinn's Chair. See 
note, p. 41. 



208 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

A cold, thin-blue drapery of mountain-haze roll'd 
Round her form, which dimly appear 'd thro' its fold ; 
But she look'd indistinct as the dull, wat'ry rim 
Of the moon, when around it the rain-vapours swim. 

Her gossamer-mantle behind her flow'd light, 
As a snow- veil flung loose on the shoulders of night ; 
And her eyes, thro' the wave of the mist-shadows gray, 
Seem'd starlight reflected on clear, frozen spray. 
A moment the King on the White Spirit gazed, — 
From his proud brow his eagle-plumed barrad he raised, 
And said, in the sweet-sounding tongue of the Gael, 
" Hail! Queen of the Hill ! gentle Oebhinn ! all hail !" 

" To-morrow we go on a mission of blood, 

To feast our red swords on the plain of Sulchoid ; 

The Invaders against us have gather'd their powers, 

From the forts of Ath Cliath* and Luimneach's towers. 

And tell me, mournful herald of fate ! 

How many proud chieftains shall enter death's gate ? 

Or who in the field are destined to prevail — 

The Race of the Hillsf or the Tribe of Clan Tail ?f 

The hero ceased speaking, and Oebhinn replied, 
In a voice, like the wind on the winter hill-side, 
" Ere the eve of the morrow shall blush o'er the wave, 
Thy fame shall be great, King Mahon, the brave ! 
The Raven shall fall, and the tribe of Clan Tail, 
'Gainst the sons of the hills, in the field shall prevail ; 
And now, since the fate of the morrow is known, 
Retire, King Mahon ! and leave me alone ! " 

Then the mists gather'd deeply and cover'd the spot ^ 
'Round the cold, gloomy stone where the White Spirit sate; 
And the warrior retreated, and heard, in the wind, 
Low moans and deep sighs from the summit behind. 
With the eye of an eagle and foot of a fawn, 
He traversed the hill to the wide palace-lawn ; 
And enter'd the hall where the sons of the sword 
Were feasting their souls with the joys of the board. 

Then the nobles all 'rose, with full bowls in their hands, 

And they hail'd the high Prince of the gold-hilted brands ; 

And he proudly demanded the sons of the lyre, 

For a song on the valorous deeds of his sire. 

From the regal orchestra of minstrels the first, 

A hundred wild harps into melody burst ; 

And they sang the brave triumphs of mighty Clan Tail, 

O'er the fierce Ocean-kings on the plain of Singail ! § 

* Dublin. 

t The Northmen or Danes were called by the Irish " The Sons of the 
Hills ! " 
t The Dalcassians often assumed this cognomen. 
\ i.e., Singland near Limerick City, where Kennedy, the father of Brian 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 209 

But a strange white-hair'd minstrel appear'd 'mong the rest, 
And six radiant colours adorn'd his vest ; 
His face and attire were unknown in the hall, 
Yet his harp spoke the loudest and sweetest of all. 
When he sang of the field and the glory of kings, 
The clang of the battle burst fierce from the strings ; 
And the chiefs felt a martial blaze burning their souls, 
And they shook their broad swords o'er the bright banquet- 
bowls. 

Then the battle-hymn suddenly changed to a wail, 
Like the Banshee's wild dirge for a prince of the Gael ; 
The gray swans of Lir, in their watery retreat, 
Ne'er chanted their night-song so mournfully sweet. 
And the listeners grew pale, and sat still, as if death 
Had flung on their features the frost of his breath ; 
For an accent was heard in each grief-speaking string, 
Saying, " Short is the date of thy glory, King ! " 

Like an insulted god, 'rose the royal Dalcassian, 

His lordly brow black with the cloud-gloom of passion : 

"Bring that minstrel to judgment before me ! ! ' he cried, 

"Spare thy judgment, Monarch !" the minstrel replied ; 

" Red victory shall sit on thy helmet to-morrow — 

A morning of joy and an evening of sorrow ; 

But if thou would 'st live, take the warning I bring, 

Go not to the feast with the yellow-hair' d King ! " 

He waved his thin hand to the guests, and withdrew, 
Like the mist of a river dissolving from view ; 
And a pensive sheen spread, like the lustre of snow, 
As each chief made the sign of the cross on his brow. 
The Clarseachs were hush'd, and the banquet was o'er, 
And the sound of the dancers' feet died on the floor — 
The warriors and princes retired for the night, 
To take brief repose and prepare for the fight. 



THE BATTLE OF SULCHOID. 

(a. d. 968.) • 

The morn was red on Camailte's head, 

And the woods in the spring-gale trembled ; 
When the Danish powers, from their raths and towers, 

On the plain of the battle assembled ; 
And their hostile shout thro' the skies rang out, 

As their squadrons rapidly muster'd ; 
And their flame-like spears were as fire-crown'd stars 

O'er the blue brow of midnight cluster'd. 

Born, aided by Callaghan, King of Minister, O'Riordan, O'Malley, O'Neill, 
Creagh, and several other great chiefs, defeated the Danes of limerick, and 
slew their principal commanders in single combat. 



210 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

There was Muiris the Dark, like his own tall bark* 

Moving proud on her sea-kiss'd pinion — 
There was Torrell as fierce as the fire-eyed shark 

Seeking prey in his briny dominion : 
There was Teithill, black-brow'd as a hailstone cloud 

O'er a frozen desert impending ; 
And Bernard, as tall as a castle wall — 

With his locks to his girdle descending. 

All giants grim, in body and limb, 

Mighty, and stern, and fearless ; 
Train'd and skill'd in the red war-field — 

In arms and actions peerless ; 
The pride and boast of the pirate-host, 

As leaders and champions daring ; 
Whose Raven-wingsf were the terror of kings, 

Save the chiefs and the kings of Erin. 
Like rav'nous beasts, they slew monks and priests, 

And their banquets were flames and ruins ; 
And wherever they trod, the burning sod 

Told a fiery tale of their doings : 
Their pond'rous mail was of hardest steel, 

And steel gloves did their hands environ ; 
For the strength of their bone was as flinty stone, 

And their sinews as rods of iron. 
From the golden plains of their bright domains, 

All Thomond's fierce clans, with their leaders, 
Like the headlong sweep of their hill-floods deep, 

Are coming to meet the invaders ; 
And King Mahon strides on in the shining van, 

With his Three Yellow LionsJ before him ; 
And his battle- vest on his towering breast, 

And his proud eagle-plume nodding o'er him. 

His helmet's blaze was like the rays 

Of the sun on a stormy even', 
As he haughtily trod, like an angry god 

'Mid the clouds of a burning heaven : 
And the fiery sheen of his host was seen, 

Like morn on the white surge glancing, 
When the wave-array of the wrathful sea, 

Is in terrible majesty dancing. 

* " The four Danish leaders mentioned in this stanza, were lords of Lime- 
rick, "Waterford, Cork, and Dublin, men of great personal strength, bravery, 
and military skill. The field of Sulchoid lies about nine miles north-east of 
Limerick." — Keating's Hist. 

t The Danish Banner. A raven with extended wings. 

% The Banner of the Dalcassian Kings. Mahon was, at the time of the 
Battle of Sulchoid, King of Leath Mogha, i.e., the entire southern half of 
Ireland. ,His brother Brian, the future hero of Clontarf, was then Prince 
of Thomond. It was the great importance and brilliancy of the victory of 
Sulchoid that inspired the Eugenian chiefs with envy against Mahon, whick 
ultimately led to his murder. —Annals of Thomond 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND, 21 1 

The holy Mass for the race of Cas, 

In the pale-ray' d dawn was offer'd ; 
And the fierce Northmen to their God Odin, 

Their prayers for victory proffer'd : 
While the war-bards strung their harps and sung 

The bold Ross Catha inspiring ; 
And every man to the charge rush'd on, 

With vengeance and vigour untiring. 

They swept o'er the ground, like the mighty sound 

Of floods from a hundred mountains ; 
And the mad steel tore, with a thirsty roar, 

To the depths of their hearts' red fountains — 
The wound-floods swell'd and the armour knell'd, 

As the spears, like fire-serpents, assail'd it ; 
And each broad shield fell, like a broken shell, 

From the quivering arm that held it. 

The gleaming blades danc'd and quiver'd, like reeds, 

As if — with their red edges blunted — 
They reel'd up drunk from each cloven trunk, 

To grasp the fierce souls which they hunted : 
And the helmets strong groan'd a horrid song, 

O'er the shrill war- slogan, uproarious ; 
While the * ' sparths " mock'd the croon of the storm's tune, 

And the swords shriek'd an iron chorus. 

King Mahon first through the centre burst, 

The steel-clad chiefs o'erthrowing ; 
And he swept them away, like the dark-brown hay, 

When the harvest sons are mowing ; 
And the crash of his stroke, like a falling oak, 

Was heard o'er the furious clangor, 
As he broke thro' the ranks, like a flood thro' its banks, 

In the strength of its wintry anger. 

Fierce Torrell came, like a column of flame, 

To oppose the Dalcas leader ; 
And his mountain-height o'er the wave of fight, 

Was seen, like a desert-cedar : 
And shield to shield, on the smoking field, 

They met, like two night-demons rending 
The fiery-gloom of the storm-cloud's womb, 

For the rule of the lightning contending. 

As things of light, in their aerial flight, 

Flash'd their arms in ringing collision ; 
And their spears hiss'd loud for a drink of blood, 

As they leap'd on their deadly mission ; 
But the shafts fell down, with a surly groan, 

From each sounding buckler's centre ; 
As if each strong spear refused, with fear, 

Those terrible shields to enter. 



212 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Then they drew their " sparths," and, in riven parts, 

The shields to the plain flew sounding ; 
And the chiefs sway'd back from the fierce attack, 

Like waves from a cliff rebounding. 
But the King, with the bound of a fleet wolf-hound, 

His ponderous war-axe winding, 
Drove its fiery edge, like a cleaving wedge, 

Thro' the Dane's stout armour grinding. 

His blood wet the plain, as a shower of rain, 

And he reel'd, with his broad breast sever'd ; 
And fell, like the fall of a granite wall, 

By heaven's artillery shiver'd ; 
Then the Northmen raged, and the hosts engaged, 

With a fiercer and deadlier fury ; 
And the broad swords clash'd, andthe shields were smash'd, 

And the battle-flood roll'd more gory. 

By a moss-brow'd crag, near his Raven-flag, 

The ruler of Luimneach, Muiris, 
Cast his lightning-gaze thro' the red war-haze 

Where the swords of the Dalgais raged furious ; 
And his fierce appeal to his men of steel, 

Was heard, like a tempest, among them ; 
And wild, as the ire of a river of fire, 

On the men of green Thomond he flung them. 

King Mahon prepare, for the storm of war 

By thy bravest must now be borne ! — 
See those spears rushing bright, as the flames of night, 

And thick as tall ridges of corn ; 
Place thy boldest in front to oppose the brunt 

Of those headlong iron-billows ! 
Let your axes cleave this desperate wave, 

Else thy legions shall fall, like willows ! 

Up march'd to his side, with lion-pride, 

Young Brian his regal brother ; 
Like a wintry tide down the mountain's side, 

Fierce, rushing to join another. 
And the men of Cas, strong as towers of brass, 

Stand, like brown hill-cliffs in the vanguard ; 
And, like fire-globes, shined their helms behind 

The wave of their glittering standard. 

As two seas meet in a narrow strait, 

By a thousand tall rocks riven ; 
When the surge-fiends call on an angry squall 

To give them a fling towards heaven ; 
While the clouds look down with a dark'ning frown, 

On their billowy war-dance whitening, 
And toss, thro' the gloom, on their helms of foam, 

Blue-quivering plumes of lightning. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 213 

Thus on, with the sway of the frantic sea, 

Charged the Danes, with the Raven o'er them ; 
While, as rocks in the flood, the Dalgais stood, 

In terrible might, before them ; 
Then the axe and sword the hosts devour'd, 

And the armour was shivered to splinters ; 
And ten thousand blows in one hurricane 'rose, 

Like the howl of a hundred winters. 

As the pine-wood bends when the tempest rends 

Its branchy lords gigantic ; 
As ships are toss'd on the roaring coast, 

By the wrath of the mad Atlantic ; 
So the ranks were wreck 'd, and hew'd, and hack'd, 

And the field with their fall resounded, 
Like the deep, hoarse voice of a lake of ice, 

When the sleighs are driving around it. 

At the head of his band, by Brian's hand, 

Fierce Teithill was cleft asunder ; 
Like a crag dash'd down from its steep hill-throne, 

By the fiend of the midnight thunder ; 
And a bank of slain 'rose o'er the plain 

Where the cloven chief was lying ; 
And, as red grapes crush'd in the wine-press, gush'd 

The gaping wounds of the dying. 

'Mid the iron surge of the mighty charge, 

By a deluge of blows surrounded, 
Luimneach's lord, with his sweeping sword, 

On the king of Leath Mogha bounded ; 
But Mahon broke, with a crashing stroke, 

His casque where the black crest curl'd, 
And down he was cast, like a stately mast 

From a sea-riding war-ship hurl'd. 

Then a panic ran from man to man, 

And the rifted phalanx was scatter'd ; 
As a sand-built isle by the mad turmoil 

Of the tide and the tempest shatter 'd : 
Thus the pirate-throng madly roll'd along, 

As if hell-dogs rushed to hound them ; 
Or as wild beasts dun all roar and run, 

When the wood is in flames around them. 

Tall Bernard stood and call'd aloud 

On his flying band of hewers, 
To stand, and brave the headlong wave 

Of their fiery and fierce pursuers ! 
But the war-tide swept him down and leapt, 

With the bound of an avalanche, o'er him ; 
And he mangled lay on the bloody clay, 

As if hungry wild beasts tore him. 



214 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

On roll'd the rout, with a hurricane-shout, 
t , Towards' Luimneach's flood-girt towers ; 
And the plains were lined with ruin behind 

The mass of the flying powers : 
They enter'd the town, and the forts tore down, 

And flames thro' the buildings revell'd ; 
And ere day sank to rest in the yellow west, 

The city in fire was levell'd. 



THE BANKS OF AVONDOUN.* 

September's sun is bright upon 

The briary banks of Avondoun, 
Whose wavelets run from stone to stone, 

Each playing with its silvery crown ; 
The yellow plains are silent round, 

On bush and tree the leaves are brown ; 
I sit alone, and hear no sound 

Save thine, blue-streaming Avondoun ! 

Oh ! many a day, in June and May, 

I rested on this winding bank ; 
And mark'd each bud that kiss'd thy flood, 

And beauty from its freshness drank ! 
Delighted with thy mountain-song, 

Thro' broom and fern, sweet- warbling down, 
I lay thy moorland flowers among, 

And hymn'd thy praise, wild Avondoun ! 

The red trout's spangled armour gleams 

Beneath thy crystal-shaded curls, 
As darting playful thro' thy streams, 

They seem like radiant, living pearls ! 
The green-furze hangs along thy side, 

The yellow star-gems of its crown ; 
The slender fox -glove, crimson-eyed, 

Shakes its bright bells o'er Avondtai ! 

The fields are in a sunny dream — 

Heaven's gemlets glow on bank and bush ; 
And in the hazy, humid beam, 

The ruby haws in clusters blush — 
The darkly glist'ning berries peep 

Between the leaves, half green and brown ; 
Like gray old chiefs, the thistles sleep 

Beside the winding Avondoun. 

* Brown River-— a poetical name given to a mountain stream with wild 
and winding banks. It flows from the hills of Cappantimore and empties 
itself into the Shannon, a few hundred yards below the Lax Weir. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 215 • 

The summer glads the heart and eye, 

When all looks fresh and young, and green ; 
But let me feel the dreary joy 

That haunts the soul 'mid autumn's scene. 
The fallen leaf, the naked tree 

Rock'd by the gale's wild rustling wing, 
Impart a weird delight to me, 

That summer's glow could never bring ! 

Away, ye shadows, wealth and power ! 

Away thou stony-hearted town ! 
I'll dream alone, one pleasant hour, 

By gentle-flowing Avondoun ! 
Oh ! would I were a bird to sing 

All day around thy lonely flood — 
A flower, or any guileless thing, 

Save wretched human flesh and blood ! 

The curlew's solitary scream, 

From yon wild morass rises shrill ; 
The mists are weaving, in the beam, 

A blue robe for the naked hill — 
The song-birds fly round crag and broom, 

With sun-gold glinting~on their wings ; 
The pale reed, with its dusky plume, 

Hangs trembling o'er the marshy springs. 

Gray winter's polar blasts are near, 

The scenes look gloomy, grand and wild ; 
Thou shalt more frequent see me here, 

Than when gay summer's beauty smiled ! 
When round yon sterile summits hoar, 

The angry-swelling snow-clouds frown, 
I'll hail thee then, and love thee more, 

Child of the dark hills, Avondoun ! 



THE LIVING SKELETON. 
A Ywjffl nf ili&JPamine Year, 1847. 

The wintry evening's gloaming 
From the cold, blue east was coming, 
O'er the sombre mountains looming, 

With 'the night's first solemn frown ; 
Where November's snow lay lightly 
On their foreheads, beaming whitely, 
Through the clouded twilight brightly 
On the dark glens glancing down ; 
And the blast, with spectral moanings, thro' the frozen valleys 

raved, 
And the bare woods, stark and dreary, with a dismal murmur, 
waved. 



216 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

From the angry sky fast showering, 
Leap'd the hail-stones, pattering, pouring, 
In the black wind hoarsely roaring 
O'er the frigid scene of gloom ; 
And I listened to its rustle, 
And its solitary whistle, 
As its wild strength seem'd to wrestle 
With the four walls of my room, 
Where, darkly, sadly pondering upon wretched Ireland's 

doom, 
Sat I weaving scenes of horror in dark Fancy's wizard loom. 

'Twas in ruthless Forty-Seven, — 
When the plague-fraught air was riven 
With the sound which harrowed heaven, 

Of a famished people's cry — 
When the famine fiend was formed, 
All with tenfold horrors arm'd, 
And our godless rulers, charmed, 
Saw their Irish victims f ^ p ^,„ , 
While Europe, all alarm'd, heard the wail that tore the sky 
A dying Nation's death-groan, ringing up to God on high. 

Then Fancy's wizard mirror 
Show'd me many a shape of terror, 
As my heart lock'd deep in horror, 

Heard the living wail the dead ; 
While raging hunger stung them, 
And the plague-fiend stalk'd among them, 
And, like autumn's sick leaves, flung them 
In the dust's unhallowed bed, 
Where, grappling with the demon, they fiercely howl'd for 

bread, 
As their raving souls turned maniac ere from earth accurs'd 
they fled. 

Thus to see my country lying, 
Like a helpless infant dying, 
I wept in anguish, crying, 

God has lost his love of right ! 
Yet, 'twas but a mad temptation 
That with quick revibration 
Cross'd my soul's black desolation, 
Like the red flash of the night — 
As the lurid-pinioned lightning smites the ghastly face of 

night, 
Making darkness still more awful with the terror of its light. 

Sick and heart-sore from my weeping, 
Back I lay, o'erwearied, sleeping, 
Gloomy thoughts and sorrow steeping 
In a pensive dream of rest ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 217 

As a day which clouds deform 
With alternate rain and storm — 
At its sinking, calm and warm, 
Slumbers in the silent We^t ; 
Pillow'd on the crimson'd ether — thus I lay, in quiet rest, 
When a vision, strange and dismal, tore the spirit from my 
breast. 

In a place of shadows sunless, 
Barren, sombre, treeless, tuneless, 
Weird, sepulchral, starless, moonless, 
Yet not wholly wrapt in gloom ; 
For some cold, unnatural glimmer, — 
Like a March night dim, and dimmer, 
Or a wintry moonbeam's shimmer, 
Through a crevice in a tomb — 
Glinted on this realm of terror — this dreary land of dole, 
And grisly spectre-shadows — where the vision led my soul. 

All my heart, with horror shrinking, 
On a thousand dread things thinking, 
I advanced — each footstep sinking 
In the corpse-befatted ground ; 
Where, uncoffined and unshrouded, 
Lay the blacken'd bodies crowded, — 
With a pall of blue flies clouded — 
In the festering graves around ; 
While meagre birds of darkness, and lank-sided beasts of prey 
From the putrefying members tore the livid flesh away. 

And amid that fearful legion — 
In this pestilential region, 
Like a spirit of contagion, 

Sat a woman all alone ; 
Clad with robes of faded splendour, 
Tall, dark-haired, large-eyed, slender, 
With a brow by grief made tender, 
And white as polished stone ; 
And she w T rung her lean hands, wildly, venting many a doleful 

shriek, 
With gaunt famine in her dark eye and the plague-spot in her 
cheek. 

Tho' my bosom seemed to fear her, 
And my sad heart wept to hear her, 
I softly ventured near her, 

With respectful look and bow ; 
And she ceased her funeral ditty, 
Shaking back her ringlets jetty, 
And with a look of pity, 

Fix d her wild eyes on my brow; ! 

15 



218 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Oh ! that burning glance of anguish made my full heart over- 
flow, 
For it told a thousand sorrows in her breast that raged below. 

"Mourner!" said I, faintly, slowly 
Bowing down my person lowly, 
"Why in this place unholy 

And contagious, dost thou weep? 
Has the dark fiend's deadly malice 
Flung his poison in thy chalice ; 
And is there left no solace 

For the draught that pains thee deep? 
But fly — I must implore thee — from this plague-polluted 

sphere, 
For death, in all his grisly shapes, is winging round us here !" 

As gently I address'd her, 

And with mild entreaties press'd her, 

I thought my words distress'd her, 

For she shrank, as from a blow ; 
In her hands her face she buried — 
And — oh ! sight most dread and horrid — 
The flesh from off her forehead 

Thaw'd away, like melting snow, 
And her long, dark-tangled ringlets fell around her livid feet, 
Ajad the robe dropp'd from her bosom, like a mouldered wind- 
ing-sheet. 

Backward shrank I from the Spectre, 
With many a strange conjecture, 
Gazing on that awful picture 

Of horror and affright, 
Which now stood starkly, dimly, 
In its hideous outlines grimly — 
Gaunt, grisly, and unseemly — 
Before my tortured sight; 
While thro' gaping joint and sinew wax'd the silky-glaring 

light, 
The eyeless skull frowned on me, and the gumless teeth 
grinn'd white. 

Then from the cloud-gloom stooping, 
Foul birds, on black wings swooping, 
Round the skeleton came trooping, 

With strange screams and iron claws ; 
And long necks bare and meagre, 
For the charnel-banquet eager, 
And eyes which glared the rigour 
Of keen hunger-bitten maws ; 
While they tore the bluish tendons from the long disjointed 

bones, 
The Spectre writhed with torture and faintly utter'd moans. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 219 

Then its fleshless brow upturning — 
While the big round drops of mourning 
From its sightless eyes fell burning — 

It vehemently cried, 
"Oh! Thou, once tortured, torn, 
And spat upon with scorn, 
Deserted and forlorn, 

And scourged and crucified ! 
Take this poison-bowl of misery from my trembling, dying 

hand!" 
And a voice said, "It shall pass from thee, oh, wretched, 
suffering Land!" 

Thro' my soul the words went ringing, 

Every pulse to fury stinging, 

And the startled blood upspringing, 

Seem'd to burn with agony, 
While I cried, in fearful madness, 
"Oh ! dismal thing of sadness ! 
Is there ought of hope or gladness, 
In God's Book of Fate for thee?" 
But the Spectre only answer'd, stretching out its fleshless 

hand, 
"Behold the Dead yet living! child, I am thy Motherland !" 
"Oh ! wond'rous thing of feeling !" 
Said I, passionately kneeling, 
"By thy cries to God appealing, 

By thy wounds, and pains, and tears ! 
By the many pangs that harrow 
Thy forlorn heart of sorrow, 
Tell me — tell me, if thy morrow 
Of Redemption yet appears ?" 
But the Spectre thrice repeated, and still waved its trembling 

hand, 
"I'm the Lost One of the Nations, thy forsaken Motherland !" 

Then a ray, all pure and splendid, 
O'er the brightning sphere descended, 
And, in middle air suspended, 

Fill'd the dusky mist with light ! 
And I saw red sun- stars blazing 
O'er a blood-hued arch, upraising 
Its bow, with angels gazing 

From its fiery crescent bright ; 
And the clouds became emblazon'd with a glistening crimson 

dye, 
As they hung, like battle-banners, in the fiercely-flaming sky. 

Then their burning folds divided, 
Where the spirit-band presided, 
And a monster eagle glided 

Thro 5 the glowing, crimson flood, 



220 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And his wings, with star-plumes splendid, 

To each horizon extended, 

As his downward flight he wended, 
Where the bony Spectre stood ; 
And his eyes were as two comets shooting war-presaging rays, 
And the sun seem'd but a meteor to the glory of his gaze. 

And before this flying wonder, 
All the black graves burst asunder ; 
And the corpses that lay under, 

Started into living forms ; 
And their faces wore a passion ^ 
That no painter's art could fashion, 
While their wild eyes seemed to flash on, 
With fierce scorn, the hideous worms ; 
And they hail'd the mighty eagle, with a world-ringing cry, 
Like the war-song of the ocean when the wind-god rushes by. 
Then those fierce men troop'd together 
Round the winged king of ether ; 
And each bold man snatch'd a feather 

From the glorious, royal bird ; 
And they stood all bravely arm'd, 
With one martial ardour warm'd, 
For each plume became transform'd 
To a glittering battle-sword ; 
And they rush'd, with desperate fury, on the birds and beasts 

of prey, 
And cut them all in piecemeal, and trampled them to clay. 

Now from earth's black bosom stealing, 
Rose a radiant sun- cloud swelling, 
The gaunt Skeleton o'erveiling, 

With a drapery of red ; 
Each joint and bone enfolding 
With a symmetrical moulding ! 
While a garment, rich and golden, 

O'er her growing shoulders spread, 
And a glory o'er her features, like a grand spring morning stole, 
And her eyes blazed with the newly-kindled lightning of her 
soul. 
Then a great host march'd before her, 
With bright banners flaunting o'er her, 
As the mighty eagle bore her 

To a throne of gorgeous sheen ; 
And there in state elated, 
'Mid applauding millions seated, 
Was the proud, regenerated, 
And enduring Ocean-Queen; 
And her face grew fair and fairer, and her sceptre-hand grew 

strong, 
'Till o'er her brow of splendour hung no shadow of a wrong* 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 221 

And a heavenly sunburst crown'd her, 
And the crystal seas around her, 
Seem'd to burst in joyous thunder 
On her diamond-sanded shore ; 
And great ships of trade unfailing, 
To her royal ports were sailing, 
And the voice of woe and wailing, 

On her plains, was heard no more ; 
And her Angel of Deliverance thro' the climes of Earth pro- 

claim'd, 
( Return, ye weary exiles ! Lo ! your country is redeemed !" 



THE ROSE OF THE GLEN. 

(a legend of cratloe.)* 

Beneath the deep shadows of Cratloe's wild mountains, 
Where the birchen-boughs wave o'er a hundred blue fountains ; 
And each crag's granite forehead is wreathed with broom, 
With the dew-crystals set in the bells of its bloom ; 
There the wing'd minstrels, throned on each sweet-budding- 

. spray, 
'Mid sunshine and fragrance, sing love-hymns all day, 
While the gale from the lap of the mountain sublime, 
Steals away the sweet soul of the rich-scented thyme ; 
And there, 'mid those glories, secluded from men, 
Dwelt Eily O'Donnell, the Rose of the Glen ! 

No bright-flowing garments had Eily to wear, 
Nor golden her ringers, nor gems in her hair ; 
But simply the beautiful maiden was dress'd, 
In plain peasant attire, which suits loveliness best. 

From Luimneach's walls to Bunratty's gray towers, 

From Meelick's wide woodlands to Derra's dark bowers ; 

From Cratloe's tall Castle to Carrigogunnell, 

No peer had the beautiful Eily O'Donnell. 

Her eyes were as violets embedded in dew, 

Or May's sunny heaven, as pure and as blue ; 

She smiled, like the primrose by Coonagh's brown rills, 

She blush'd, like the berries on Boola's dark hills ; 

And she moved on the plain, in the clear summer noon, 

Like the sunray that floats o'er the meadows in June. 

In her cottage, all day at her distaff and reel, 

She sang, like a seraph, the songs of the Gael ; 

And when winter's snow-carpet lay deep o'er the land, 

The grateful birds knew her, and fed at her hand. 

•Cratloe Castle was built, in 1610, by Donogh M'Namara and Margaret 
Barry, bis wife. After the Siege of Limerick, Cratloe was confiscated, and 
the Castle dismantled. It was, in 1651, for several weeks besieged by Ireton, 
but it successfully resisted all his efforts to reduce it. The last of the 
Cratloe MacNamaras left it on the day that the battle of Bunker Hill was 
fought. 



222 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

How sweet fell the eve-mist on valley and lawn, 

When she stray'd o'er the hills, with her loved Owen Bhan ! 

How joyful the soul of her lover was, when 

He met, in the twilight, his Rose of the Glen ! 

Tho' no lord of the soil, and no chief of the sword, 

He was brave as a hero, and look'd like a lord ; 

Tho' a plain, humble youth, without titles or gold, 

His bosom was proud and his spirit was bold. 

For his was a lineage of glory traced down 

From the Lords of Leath Mogha, whose swords of renown — 

For ever victorious o'er Norman and Dane — 

Crush'd the insolent robbers, on land and on main. 

But the Saxon prevail'd thro' long ages of blood, 

He conquer'd with gold, for his sword was withstood ; 

And the noble Dalcassian tribe fell by degrees, 

Like a forest despoil'd of its beautiful trees ; t 

And Owen, tho' born to a chieftain's command, 

Was robb'd of his ancestral honours and land ; 

And doom'd, thro' the round of the season, to toil, 

On those plains where his fathers were lords of the soil. 

In Cratloe's tall Castle a chieftain resided, 
By all the wild spells of a wild passion guided — 
(For Cratloe had chieftains, high halls, and gay bowers, 
Ere the hell-harden'd Cromwell dismantled her towers) — 
A lord of the noble Sil Aedha,* whose name 
Shines illustrious in Thomond's grand records of fame ; 
The stern MacNamaras, whose strong swords alone, 
For ages, secured the O'Briens on their throne. 
O'er Thomond's rich soil lay their lordly domains, • 
From Killeely's dark woodlands to Scariff s wide plains ; 
From Coonagh's broad fields to where Fergus divides, 
With the deep-rolling Shannon, his blue mountain-tides. 
From Bunratty of battles and wild warrior-men, 
To the white crags of Burren, and dark Inchiquin. 
O'er those sway'd the chiefs of the Clan MacNamara, 
Ere the crown of proud Tara was worn at Kinkora ; 
And in every fierce conflict their standard appear 'd, 
And their war-shouts for Erin and Freedom were heard. 
Their power made princes and raised them to reign, 
They built abbeys and castles, and burned them again ; 
The Danes, and false Saxons, and fierce Norman lords, 
Were cut, like dry grass, by their axes and swords. 

* Sil Aedha was one of the tribe names of the MacNamaras of Clan Cuilen. 
They were the field marshals of Munster since time immemorial. They 
built twenty-eight castles in Thomond, together with several fine abbeys 
(Quin being the principal), which they largely endowed. In their power 
lay the sole and safe election of the native princes to royal authority. How 
this mighty and warlike tribe lost their immense possessions, in so short a 
time, is a matter to cause surprise ; but reckless extravagance had a strong 
hand in it ; together with the confiscations of Cromwell and James I. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 223 

How weak was O'Brien ! how fallen was his pride, 

If the brave MacNamara was not at his side ! 

And the grand House of Thomond had little to boast, 

Were it not for Sil Aedha's strong war-cleaving host ;* 

A terrible race, to the battle-field given, 

Proud, tameless, and wild as the eagles of heaven. 

Yet O'Brien, forgetful of kingly renown, 

At the feet of the alien his honours laid down ; 

And the high eagle-nest of magnanimous souls, 

Became the cold dwelling of spiritless owls ; 

Self-quench' d was that great name which burned So long, 

And the fierce torrent died while its billows were strong ; 

The proud Tree, whose high boughs such glorious fruit bore, 

Bow d its head to the vile dust, and blossom'd no more. 

Yet, tho' o'er green Thomond the foreigner sway'd, 

With the arms of her chiefs round his standard array 'd, 

The stern MacNamaras, unconquer'd, unbow'd, 

On their own royal mountains stood chainless and proud, 

While their eyes flash'd contempt on the weak-hearted race 

Who barter'd a crown for a yoke of disgrace ; 

But the cancer had eaten their spirits so far, 

They dash'd from their brave hands the strong swords of war 

And sullenly, slowly conformed to the laws, 

Like lions indignant deprived of their claws. 

But back to our story of Cratloe's gray castle, 

Where now the owl moans and the dreary winds whistle ; 

And the hawk o'er its ivy-zoned turrets is screaming, 

Where once the proud flag of Clan Cuilen was streaming. 

I sat on its war-worn battlements hoary, 

And sigh'd o'er the tomb of its long-perish'd glory ; 

I gazed on the banquet-hall, dismal and drear, 

And the red-blossom' d wall-flowers waved silently there. 

The spider's frail web spread its wind-torn screen, 

In the nooks where the dreary bat slumbers unseen ; 

The mountain-bee hums thro' the shadowy hall, 

And the snail leaves his gray, silvery trail on the wall. 

How changed from the old, splendid days of its pride, 
When its chieftains lived free, or for liberty died ; 
When its rocky halls echoed with revel and lay, 
Sounding high on the wind, at the close of the day ; 
When the daughters of beauty moved light o'er the floor, 
In the maze of the dance, with the wild sons of war ; 
While its huge hearths blazed brightly, with bogwood and oak, 
And the rich banquet scented the hall with its smoke ; 

* Fireball and his "brother, the Major, who seconded O'Connell in his duel 
with D'Esterre, were the last who represented the valiant blood of the 
chieftaincy. 'With them died all that was chivalrous and noble of the long- 
dreaded and illustrious Clan Cuilen. The late Colonel MacNamara, of 
Ennistymon, was another scion of the warlike and historic race, "Ala*! 
for the sons of glory /" 



224 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And the loud laugh of mirth, as the revelry grew, 
Rung gay from the heart of the reckless Seaan Rudh* 
Seaan Rudh MaoNamara, bold lord of the tower ! 
Who scorn'd all danger and spurn'd all power ; 
At love-feats, and banquets, and combats of steel, 
Unrivall'd and wild as Shane Dymas O'Neill, f 
Love, feasting and battle, his spirit's delight— 
A combat all day and a banquet all night — 
A-wooing some damsel, embroil'd with some lord** 
For ever engaged with a love-suit, or sword ; 
Each day saw him bound for the plain or the hill, 
A lady to meet, or a rival to kill. 

One calm harvest-morn he chased a wild deer, 
O'er the brown mountain-peaks, with his sharp hunting spear 
Thro' dark gorge and green heath the frighted beast flew, 
But fix'd in his flank was the steel of Seaan Rudh : 
Thro' the gloom of the forest the fainting deer fled, 
And fern and blade, with his life-drops grew red ; 
To the glen, where young Eily so long lived retired, 
The child of the desert rush'd down, and expired ; 
The maiden went forth from her home in the shade, 
And moved to the spot where the wild deer was laid ; 
'Tis her own favourite roebuck that lifeless lies there, 
And she rung her white hands, with a scream of despair. 
MacNamara dash'd down, with his green-attired men, 
And beheld, with amaze, the fair Rose of the Glen ; 
Like a young mountain-hazel, majestic she stood, 
While the chief felt a sudden flame kindling his blood. 

" Young Queen of the valley and green birchen-shade ! " 
Thus spoke the fierce Seaan to the delicate maid ; 
" The glance of thy blue eye has pierced like an arrow, 
The steel-tempered heart of the proud MacNamara ! 
Come, come to my mansion, thou angel serene ! 
And there thou shalt live, rule and reign as a queen ! 
And Cratloe's broad lands, woods, and hills, shall be thine, 
And Coonagh's rich meadows, well stored with fat kine ! 
In my house and my heart, high command shalt thou bear, 
And the gems of a princess shall blaze in thy hair ; 
And men of proud bearing, and maids, light and gay, 
Shall defend thee all night and attend thee all day ; 
And no bride in the land shall be like my young bride, 
With grandeur, and treasure, and pleasure supplied ! " 

" Proud lord of the forests and mountain-rocks brown! " 
Thus spoke the young maid, when the chieftain was done ; 

* lfc>d John, supposed to be the son of Donogh who built the castle. 
Owen Bhan was one of his kinsmen, and he merely carried off Eily to the 
castle for the purpose of trying Owen's ancestral courage. 

t Shane the proud. For an account of this wild and warlike Chief, see 
John Mitchell's " Life of Hugh O'Neill." 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 225 

' Thy generous offers no maid could deny, 
But my heart with those offers can never comply ! 
Persist not, brave chief ! — I'm defenceless and lone, 
And my heart-vows are pledged to the young Owen Bhan ! 
Nor the splendour of power nor the smooth tongues of men, 
Shall win from his bosom the Rose of the Glen ! " 

The dark chieftain frown'd and the blaze of his eye 
Wax'd red as the lightning, when tempests are nigh, 
From his silver-rein'd hunter impetuous he sprung, 
And the terrified maid on the wild steed he flung, 
And he bounded behind her, and dash'd from the bower, 
Like a hawk with his prey, to his tall, rocky tower. 

'Tis evening, and Cratloe's gray Castle is ringing, 

With harping and feasting, and dancing and singing ; 

And the dim, hazy crimson of sunset is thrown 

Thro' each stout-shafted casement of rough-chisell'd stone ; 

The guests are assembled, in gorgeous attire, 

And cheeks of bright rose-hues, and eyes of soft fire, 

Surround the gay board all with radiant cups starr'd, 

While the martial Boss Catha was sung by a bard ! 

And the cheers of the warriors exultingly rung 

Thro' the spacious arch'd hall, keeping time with the song ; 

And they 'rose, as if rushing to fight round the boards, 

Pealing out their dread war-shout and clashing their swords. 

There were princely O'Brien of famed Lemeneagh, * 
O'Loughlin of Burren, and gallant O'Dea ; 
O'Hehir, O'Halloran, 0' Grady, O'Hearn, 
MacMahon the strong, Maclnerney the stern ; 
The valiant ODonnell, from Luimneach's rich city, 
MacNamara, fierce lord of the towers of Bunratty ; 
MacNamara of Ayle, MacNamara of Quinn, 
And the proud MacNamara of green Corofin ; 
O'Neill, haughty chief of the long yellow hair, 
O'Callaghan, lord of the borders of Clare ; 
All fearless and true men, bold, generous and bright, 
And these are Seaan Rudh's brother-revellers to-night ! 

Like bright, pleasant dreams, the gay hours fled away, 
Ere the banqueters mark'd the brief date of their stay. 
Their reckless enjoyment was full at its height, 
And no bosom was sad in the Castle that night ; 

* " This noble mansion/the seat of the ancestors of the Dromoland O'Briens, 
was taken possession of and garrisoned by Ireton's troops, under General 
Ludlow, in 1651. They compelled the widowed Lady O'Brien (whose hus- 
band, Connor, was slain, defending the Pass of Inchicronan against the 
Parliamentary troops), to quit her residence, with her orphan son, and seek 
refuge elsewhere. The brigands cut down and burned a great portion of the 
fine old ornamental timber of the demense, besides doing other injuries to 
the grand mansion, which was abandoned by the family in future. The 
interesting ruins of this historic castle are still standing."— M emoir of the 
O'Briens. 



226 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

No bosom was sad, oh, fair Eily, but thine ! 

Tho' around thee ran fountains of music and wine ! 

She gazed on each proud dame, and high-crested chief, 

And the joy of their eyes mock'd the soul of her grief ; 

In secret she call'd on her lover, with sighs, 

From the wells of her heart, bringing streams to her eyes ; 

And sadly she wept — oh, ye gay warrior-men ! 

Bear her back to her own humble home in the Glen ! 

A stranger appears 'mid the festival throng, 

His stature is comely, but lofty and strong ; 

In the hall's brilliant centre he takes his bold stand, 

With a dirk at his side and a sword in his hand ; 

And the quick, steely glance of his eye flash'd on all, 

As the angry youth frown'd o'er the guests in the hall. 

Then up stood Red Seaan, with a bowl amply fill'd, 

And that high-flowing bowl to the stranger he held ; 

But the stranger refused — with a wave of his brand, 

And the gallant chief flung down the bowl from his hand ; 

"By the soul of my father!" he cried, with a sneer, 

"You are a black Saxon churl ! — say what brought you here ?" 

"I'm come !" said the youth, "and my mission is strange, — 

A deed of disgrace on your head to avenge ! 

Yet I am no serf of the Sassenach line, 

For the blood in my veins is as Irish as thine ! 

You are valiant in action, and mighty in word, 

Your clan fears your power, and your foes feel your sword 

But I scorn your clan, and your sword, and your power, 

Tho' here I'm alone, in the hall of your tower ! 

Was it valour or honour inspired you to-day, 

To force a poor maid from her shieling away ? 

Now I say to your beard, mighty madman, beware — 

For, by heaven ! if violence has harm'd one hair 

Of her dark, silken locks ! this good sword you shall feel, 

Tho' your person were guarded by ramparts of steel ! 

And now I command you, on death's instant pain, 

To restore, unmolested, the Hose of the Glen t" 

Deep, silent sensation arrested the crowd, 

But the reckless Seaan Rudh laugh'd contemptuous and loud! 

"By the red God of battles ! my Oscar !" he cried, 

"I delight in my soul, at your choice of a bride ! 

Yet now shall our actions of chivalry prove 

Who is worthy to enter the temple of love ! 

In my own Castle-hall you have valiantly come 

To the trial, and here will I welcome you home ! 

The love-feat, the wine-bowl, the axe and the arrow, 

Alike give enjoyment to Seaan MacNamara ! 

Your sword — my young gallant, I honour your claim ! 

For, by all that is fair ! you must fight for the dame !" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 227 

He said, and advanced on the floor's empty space, 

The guests, standing off, gave the combatants place ; 

The sword, dimly gleaming, is raised in each hand, 

As forth to the onset the fierce rivals stand. 

The signal is given — the warriors charge, 

And bravely they fight, without helmet or targe ; 

But the steel of Seaan Rudh, at each movement, drew blood 

And redden'd the floor where the young hero stood, 

The gallant Owen Bhan never falter' d nor fell, 

But defended his person, right valiant and well ; 

Yet return'd his blows, with the cautionless might, 

Ever shown by the rash, inexperienced in fight. 

The bold MaoNamara, with coolness, flung back 

The impetuous wildness of Owen's attack, 

And caught on his guard-stroke, so actively spread, 

The blows which his rival had meant for his head ; 

"While his eye gleam* d, like that of a lion at play 

In the gloomy-arch'd wood, when he sports with his prey. 

Twelve times at his bosom the weapon's point flash'd, 

Twelve times from its quick aim that weapon he dash'd ; 

At last, with a strong, sidelong sweep of his brand, 

He struck the sword ringing from Owen's bold hand ; 

Another stroke follow' d and brought to the ground 

The youth, his high forehead mark'd with a wound ; 

He lay, while the foot of the victor was placed 

On his neck, with the sword pointed down at his breast ; 

When Eily rush'd forth from the dais, and clung 

To the youth, like a mother defending her young ; 

Her white, slender hand grasp'd the weapon upraised, 

In the chief's burning face she imploringly gazed, 

And dropp'd on her knees, with a passionate prayer, 

To the wrathful-eyed warrior her lover to spare ; 

The noble Red Seaan, with delight in his eyes, 

Laugh'd aloud, and commanded young Owen to rise. 

"You have well proved your spirit, and earn'd the dame, 
You are worthy her favour — now tell me your name I — 
I have tried your affections and found them sincere, 
And for that cause I brought your beloved one here ! 
I will grant you ten acres of bawn, stock'd with kine, 
When the beautiful Rose of the Glen shall be thine! 
But as sure as you stood here before me, to-night, 
If I saw your nerve waver or shrink from the fight — 
Were all the grand lords of Clan Cuilen your sires, — 
I'd strip your stout shoulders and scourge you with briers ! 
But your spirit is brave, and your courage is true, 
And you said what you were bold and ready to do ! 

Brave Owen sprang up, like a deer, from the ground, 
His strength was refresh'd and his raw scars were bound; 



228 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Every chief shook his hand, with a free, friendly zeal, 
And declared him a scion of warlike Glan Tail ! 
Fair Eily was greeted by ladies and lords, 
Who repaid her affection with golden rewards ; 
A pastor was call'd to the hall — there and then, 
He married Owen Bhan to the Rose of the Glen. 



THE BATTLE OF CORCOMROE.* 

(A.D.— 1317) 
The clans are embattled, at dark Corcomroe, 
And proudly their trumpets and war-horns blow ; 
The blood, bone, and strength of all Thomond are there, 
With lances in rest and broad battle- swords bare. 
The chivalrous powers of Clan Cuilen march on, 
With the proud MacNamaras, like towers, in the van ; 
The plumes of their legions are nodding on high, 
Like tall forest-tops waving dark in the sky. 

In their ranks were O'Slattery, O'Hossin, O'Maly, 

Maclnerney, O'Meehan, O'Clarigh, O'Haly, 

O'Hartigan, O'Halloran, O'Meany, O'Liddy, 

O'Dea and O'Loghlin, O'Quin and O'Grady, 

All war-season'd champions of vigour and might, 

Born of proud mothers and nurst amid fight ; 

They spread their battalions' steel wings o'er the plain, 

'Gainst Donogh the usurper, and fierce Brian Bane.f 

And, grim as a hungry wolf, Donogh is there, 
With the stern Hy-mbloid % and the troops of De Clare ; 
Brian Berra, the fierce, at his side takes his stand, 
With his wrathful eye red as the point of his brand : 
Tall Mortogh the Bough, and Teige Luimnich the Strong, 
Shake their swords in the front of the dense battle-throng — 
Long, long shall green Thomond remember, with woe, 
That dreadful war-gathering at dark Corcomroe. 

Brave Dermod, the brother of Mortogh O'Brien, § 
Arranges the squadrons and orders each line ; — 

* The consummate warrior, Brian Bane, was grandson of Brian Roe, who 
introduced the De Clares into Thomond. He was constantly engaged in 
military operations, and was the only one of his grandfather's descendants 
who survived the battle of Corcomroe. 

t The clans of eastern Thomond, or Omullod, containing the following 
parishes ; Clonlea, Feakle, Kilnoe, Kilfinaghty, Killuran, Kilseily, Killo- 
kennedy, forming the present deanery of Omullod, in the diocese of Killaloe. 
The most distinguished families who owned those places were the O'Ken- 
nedys, O'Shanaghans, or Shannons, O'Durachs, and O' Kearneys. 

t "Corcomroe, so called from the great grandson of Kory Mor, monarch 
of Ireland in the third century. He was the ancestor of the O'Conors of 
Corcomroe, and the O'Loghlins of Burren." — Annals of Thomond.' 

\ Mortogh O'Brien, the reigning Prince of Thomond, was absent in 
Dublin, when the battle was fought. Dermod, his brother, who acted as 
his deputy in the Government, took the chief command of the army against 
his enemies in the field. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 229 

Corcomroe's princely ruler* moved tall at his side, 

And war-lightning blazed in the glance of his pride. 

The sun, in his crystal pavilion of light, 

Seem'd to clear the dark blue-border' d mists from his sight; 

And emblaze, with the dazzling fire of his glance, 

Into terrible splendour, sword, helmet, and lance. 

The shrill blast of conflict has blown its wild breath 

O'er the fiery-ridged swell of the ocean of death ; 

Tremendous the breakers of battle arose, 

'Mid a blood-teeming tempest of life- wasting blows : 

Up leapt the blue flame-flashing axes in air, 

As if fire-fiends were shaking their burning wings there — 

The arms of both hosts in a tangled dance join'd, 

Like a ripe field of wheat toss'd and swung by the wind. 

As corn cut down by the sickle's sharp edge — 
Each chief was a reaper, each rank was a ridge — 
So the axe-cloven kerns lay scatter'd around, 
'Neath the feet of the slayers, like sheaves on the ground. 
From the frames of the warriors the blood-torrents burst, 
Still thair weapons, tho' glutted, were raging with thirst ; 
And each chief, in the charge, seem'd a storm-stricken oak, 
'Till hurl'd from his post like a thunder-split rock. 

As midnight aurora-lights bursting on high, 

Emblaze the cloud-robe of the star-bosom'd sky, 

Thus the gore-colour'd flash of the swords' quivering blaze, 

Shot its flame thro' the shroud of the floating blood-haze : 

Broad death-gaps appear in the hosts on each side, 

Like rents made in banks by the wrath of the tide ; 

And the mingled fight seem'd as a wood half blown down, 

Part waving its boughs o'er the other o'erthrown. 

The fierce Hy-mbloid are all hew'd on the plain, 
And twenty brave chiefs of Clan Cuilen are slain ; 
And few are the men of De Clare+ left to tell, 
In the halls of Bunratty, who conquer'd or fell. 
Proud Donogh's heart's blood by O'Connor was shed, 
And Mortogh the Rough, and Brian Berra lie dead ; 
Teige Luimnich is near, with his broad bosom cleft, — 
Brian Bane, of that clan, is the only chief left. 



* O'Connor, Prince of Corcomroe, by whose hand Donogh O'Brien fell. 

1- " The De Clare's policy was to foment continual quarrels between the 
senior and junior branches of the House of Thomond, and this policy ended 
in their own ruin, for they drew on themselves the deadly vengeance of the 
Thomonian chiefs. Out of 2,950 stalwart fighting men who followed De Clare 
to the field of Corcomroe, only 25 returned to tell the story at Bunratty. 
That was the third deadly check their power received in Thomond. The 
last, and most fatal, was at the battle of Dysart, where they were all hewn 
to pieces."— Annalt of Thomond. 



230 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

In the halls of Clan Cuilen there's many a tear, 
In the towers of Bunratty there's trembling and fear ; 
And the death-wail of mourning is heard from Clonroad, 
To the blue-mantled mountains of green Hy-mbloid. 
In the old abbey churchyard are graves deep and wide, 
And there the slain chieftains are laid side by side ; 
Oh ! soundly they rest in their clay-beds below — 
Thus ended the battle of dark Corcomroe. 



THE WAR SONG OF CLAN CUILEN. 

SUNG BY ONE OF THE BARDS OF THOMOND IN THE CAMP OP 
THE MACNAMARAS, ON THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BATTLE OF 
DYSART O'DEA. 

Air.— " O'Donnell Aboo /" 
Hark, the fierce war-note of glorious Clan Cuilen ! — 

The warriors of Thomond are brightly array 'd ; 
O'er the mist-shadow'd heights of Hy-Fearmaic* are rolling, 
The war-billows crested with banner and blade. 
Up, MacNamara brave, 
Son of the bounding wave ! 
Let the red sunbeams blaze on the steel of thy spear ! 
Flower of old heroes grand ! 
Marshal thy mountain-band — 
Sweep from your borders the ranks of De Clare ! 

Bravely the princes and chiefs are surrounding 

The old regal standard of kingly O'Brien ; 
Fiercely their death-telling war-cries are sounding, 
And their swords flash, like flames in a desert of pine ! 

Stern and valiant men, 

O'Maly and brave O'Quin ! 
O'Loughlin, O'Halloran, and gallant O'Hehir ! 

All march in proud array, 

Led by the bold O'Dea, 
To scourge the false brigands of faithless De Clare! 

Redly o'er Thomond the war-fires are burning, 

Her plains are laid waste and her mansions laid low ; 

Sadly her maidens and widows are mourning 
For the heroes who perish'd at dark Corcomroe !f 

♦The ancient name of the barony of Inchiquin, the territory of the 
O'Deas and the 0' Quins. From the O'Quins, the noble lords of Adare have 
descended. 

+ "The battle of Corcomroe was fought by two rival princes of the O'Briens, 
De Clare instigated the quarrel by espousing the claims of Donogh O'Brien 
to the chieftaincy which Mortogh, his kinsman, then rightfully held. The 
usurper and his adherents were defeated with great loss. Twenty-one dis- 
tinguished chiefa of the MacNamaras fell in this dreadful engagement, 
fighting in defence of Mortogh's right. The principal chiefs who fell in 
the action were buried in the Abbey graveyard, side by side, with prominent 
sharks placed over their graves, which were visible during centuries after 
the atern fight."— Annah of Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 231 

Norman intrigue and wrong 

Wrought her destruction long ! — 
But now by our fathers' proud spirits we swear, 

Soul and sword to unite 

In one strong chain of might, 
And root from our valleys the spoiler, De Clare ! 

Darkly our foes at Bunratty assemble 

On the rich meads and ploughlands which lately w T ere ours — 
Clan Cuilen shall soon make the fierce robbers tremble, 
When her wild lion war-yell shall ring thro' their towers ! 

Rise MacNamara proud ; 

Beam of the battle-cloud ! 
Fling the bright wave of thy standard in air ; 

March in the glorious van 

Of thy intrepid clan — 
Wreak thy red vengeance on faithless De Clare ! 

The banners of famed Corcomroe's noble leaders, 
O'er bright-flaming ridges of war-axes wave ; 

The pride of the soil, and the dread of invaders, 
O'Conor the free, and O'Loghlin the brave ! 
Soon shall the martial flood 
Spread its broad surge of blood, 

O'er the red field where the battle shall join — 
Gallowglass grim, and kern 
Stalwart, swift, strong, and stern ! 

Strike ye for Thomond and kingly O'Brien ! 

Proudly the towers of Bunratty are flinging 

Their dark shadows over our lordly domains ! 
Fiercely the Norman marauders are bringing 
Death to our people and woe to our plains ! — 
Rise MacNamara strong 
Scourger of tyrant- wrong ! 
Let thy sword o'er the dash of the war-torrent shine ! 
Rout the wolves from their lair — 
Death to the false De Clare — 
Strike for Clan Cuilen and kingly O'Brien ! 



THE FAWN OF ARD CREGAN. 
I sat on the brown peak of sunny Ard Cregan, 

The mountains around me lay gloomy and green ; 
And, lit by the daybeam, the calm, kingly Shannon, 

Like a broad belt of gold, round the landscape was seen ; 
The fresh wind the crimson-crown' d broom-bush was bending, 

And silence seem'd lulling the rich, dreamy scene, 
When, like a white moon-cloud the green steep ascending, 

Came the Fawn of the dark hills, the mild Josephine. 



232 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Oh, welcome' to heaven, you sweet one of beauty ! 

Sure none but your innocent feet should have trod 
Those grand hills, so near the high gate of the angels, 

Where nature is whispering alone with her God. 
Your presence, bright maiden, is like a May sunbeam, 

Whose loveliness sweetens the lone, rural scene ; 
No flower looks so gentle — no sunbeam so radiant — 

Nor hill-spring so beauteous as fair Josephine ! 

The sun-clouds are smiling with joy to behold you, 

As o'er the brown-summits their shadows are roll'd ; 
They lift up their silvery veils to enfold you, 

And shake crystal drops on your head's wavy gold. 
While I gaze on your bright wreath of ringlets endearing 

My heart, like an eagle, is lifted with pride, 
To see you, oh, lovely young Fawn of Ard Cregan ! 

So graceful and free on your native hill's side ! 

And now as I sit by the red mountain-blossom, 

The rich banquet-cup of the golden hill-bee ; 
I dream of the days when the daughters of heroes 

Strayed here, in their sweet, native beauty, like thee ! 
But I'll come to those old hills again to salute thee, 

Tho' long is the way, with dark valleys between ! 
We love heaven and nature because of their beauty, 

And you as their darling child, fair Josephine ! 



A MOTHER AT THE GRAVE OF HER ONLY SON. 

White dove of my heart did you leave me so soon ? 

Ere your manhood's young spring saw its sweet summer noon 

When to you the fond milk of my bosom I gave, 

Did I think 'twas to nourish a flower for the grave ? 

Sure your young brow was fair as the white Drinan Donn, 
Or the rich apple blossom that glows in the sun ; 
The soft evening mist and the stain of the sky 
Only pictured your hair and the blue of your eye ! 

When the young, dark-eyed Colleens were smiling on thee, 
I was wild lest they'd take your affection from me ; 
But ne'er did I dream that the sad hour was near 
When I'd see you, oh, darling ! so lonely laid here ! 

The morning sun round me is blazoning the dew, 
But the morning, astoir, brings no sunbeam to you ! 
On your pillow of dust you are coldly asleep, 
Ana your poor, bereaved mother unheeded may weep ! 

You were kind as the bloom of your own native sod, 
And you fill'd me with joy, like an angel from God 
. But, the brain -burning fever came on you, astoir ! 
And it took you away, and I'll see you no more ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 233 

Dread God, whose tremendous and mystical power 
Could shatter a world, or shelter a flower ! 
I bow down my soul to thy fathomless will ! 
But my heart for my darling is sorrowful still ! 

If I rave o'er the dust where my lost treasure sleeps, 
'Tis not I but fond nature that murmurs and weeps ! 
Oh, think, blessed Lord, when thy death-hour came on, 
How thy own Mother sorrow'd'and wept for her Son! 

Her hot tears were shed for thy sufferings and Thee, 
As she wept in her anguish, as friendless as me ! 
But Heaven remembered its dear, future Queen, 
And the angels wept, with her, unheard and unseen ! 

Yet why should I dare breathe one sigh of regret, 
Since you call'd my poor child, with your angels to sit ? 
Why should I complain or repine at my loss, 
Since yourself, oh, dear Saviour! expired on a cross ? 

Oh! my heart at the dread picture trembles and heaves, 
To think how you bled 'midst blasphemers and thieves ! 
While your Mother, with soul-cleaving torture and grief, 
Beheld you expire, and could yield no relief! 

My poor child was cherish'd, and sheltered, and fed, 
But her Child was houseless and hungry for bread ; 
My poor child had weeping friends at his bedside, 
But her Child was tortured and mock'd as He died ! 

Oh! the veins of my cold bosom shudder with dread, 
To think how He suffer'd, and hunger'd, and bled, 
Black want, woe, and sorrow were His from His birth, 
Tho' He gave to mankind all the fruits of the earth ! 

The death-pangs which made my poor darling complain, 
Were as roses compared to the Holy One's pain ! 
Oh, Father of Love ! glorified be thy throne ! 
You were kinder to mine than you were to your own ! 

THE BANKS OF BLACKWATER.* 

Now the glowing skies of golden Spring, 
New blooms to the sunny woodlands bring ; 
The wild bee waves his glancing wing, 

By the lonely, green banks of Blackwater ; 
There the nut hangs brown in the hazel shades, 
And the sweet-brier's spray in the fresh wind breathes ; 
And the wild roses blush, like bridal maids, 

On the lonely, green banks of Blackwater. 

* The picturesque valley of Blackwater lies in the county Clare, about 
three miles north of Limerick. It is the estate of Colonel T. S. MacA-dam. 
Its ancient name was Ballykillawn or Ballykilowen. '• , 

16 v 



234 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The primroses glow in the emerald wold,;] 
And the hawthorns flower in their bushy hold ; 
And the low furze spreads its blossomy gold, 

On the lonely, green banks of Blackwater. 
The glistening river swells and roars, 
And the ash-groves rise, like vernal towers ; 
And the honey- dew streams on the bending flowers, 

By the lonely, green banks of Blackwater. 

The hills are white with the bleating flocks, 
The linnets sing o'er the bush-grown rocks ; 
And the fairies play round the shadowy oaks, 

By the lonely, green banks of Blackwater. 
The lilies hang o'er the waterfalls, 
Where the bright trout play in their sandy halls ; 
And the steep banks rise, like castle-walls, 

O'er the crystalline waves of Blackwater. 

Of all the sweet scenes where the Flower-queen roves, 
That the sun-crown'd spirit of Summer loves, 
Give me the dark lawns and the grand, old groves 

Of beautiful, wild Blackwater ! 
The rosy blessings of health are there, 
In the spring-balm breath of the fragrant air ; 
Even gloom-brow'd winter looks calm and fair, 

In the sweet, sunny vale of Blackwater. 

May thy heaven-crown'd hills be ever bright,—- 
May no evil fiend wave his wings of blight 
O'er thy pleasant fields and thy vales of light, 

Fair-bosom'd, flowery Blackwater ! 
In my dreams thy towering woods I see, 
And again, in boyhood's reckless glee, 
My soul on her wild bird-wing is free, 

By the lonely, green banks of Blackwater. 



REQUIEM FOR TORLOGH O'BRIEN.* 

CROWNED KING OF THOMOND, A.D. 1280. 

Sing the deeds of the kingly chief, glorious and gallant ! 
Sing the fields of his victories, bloody and brilliant i 
Sing his grandeur of soul that was lofty and regal, 
As the lightning-scorched wing of the cloud-cleaving eagle! 

• "He died in 1306, at his palace of Clonroad, after a prosperous reien 
and a turbulent career of success. He was the greatest scourge that the 
Normans- had to contend with. At one swoop he plundered and burned 
heir ill-got possessions, and overthrew their castles from Thomond to 
£oughal,and onhis return compelled Richard De Clare to come out of 
Bunratty Castle and make submission on his knees."— Annals of Thomond 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 235 

Tho' the white ice of death on his cold bier has bound him, 
With his fiery-eyed warriors, in tear-floods, around him, 
Yet the awful-brow 'd spirit of war hovers near him, 
And his dark frown would still make his enemies fear him ! 

Look back — ere his life's mighty current was frozen — 
To the days when bright victory named him her chosen ; 
When at sylvan Moyadair Dalcassia's tribes crown'd him, 
And the shouts of their valour rang proudly around him ; 
How he stood in their midst, like the tower of the Ghebre, 
While the flashes of heaven seem'd born of his sabre ; 
As he look'd in the ring of their steel-blazing centre, 
Like a grand spirit throned 'mid the meteors of winter ! 

Remember the day when the plain of Magressian, 
Saw the mad, fiery wave of his battle-brands pressing 
On the wrathful Brian Roe, with his Norman forayers, 
How his falchion made roads thro' the mass of the slayers ? 
When the mail'd chiefs of Connaught his standard surrounded, 
And the clang of their shields, like a cascade, resounded, 
As they charged from the war-field the ruthless banditti, 
Like a flying steel-grove, to the towers of Bunratty. 

Then to see the King- victor, how awful his bearing, 
How grand and defiant — how noble and daring ! 
Begirt by his clans, with their polished spears lifted, 
Like snow on the crest of the mountain woods drifted, 
When the starry-brow'd north's icy night-breathing renders 
The dim, wat'ry flakes into icicle-splendours, 
While they hang from the boughs, in a diamond-cluster, 
With the dawn's golden ring round their crystalline lustre. 

Oh ! never did king to the battle march prouder, — 
And the trumpet of death than his shout was not louder ; 
And who of his foes was match worthy to strike him ? 
Or who in the field led the fiery charge, like him ? 
Old Thomond is proud of the glory he gave her, 
For he stood on the neck of the Norman enslaver ; 
And his praise, like the song of a giant, ascended, 
From Ival the grand to Kinkora the splendid. 

On the field of Tradree the fierce Norman-bands found him,* 
With his lightning-eyed war-eagles trooping around him ; 
There the red web of fate by his brave hand was woven, 
And the ranks by his axes, like cloud pillars, cloven, 

* " A.D. 1287 . At the^battle of Tradree he encountered Thomas De Clare, 
the founder of Bunratty Castle, ',in single combat, and clove him from 
shoulder to heart with one stroke of his war-axe. The Norman army fled 
in wild panic before him, and ere they could gain the shelter of their ram- 
parts, they were almost destroyed to a man. Along with Thomas De Clare, 
and his kinsman Fitzmaurice, Sir Richard Taaffe, Sir Richard de Exeter, 
and several other persons of distinction were slain."— Annals of Thomond. 



236 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Oh ! to see proud De Clare, with his broad shoulder sever'd, 
How his limbs, drenched with blood, in his death-struggle 

shiver'd, 
While his knights lay around, like tall hill-oaks o'erturn'd, 
With their broad, waving boughs by the thunder-flames 

burn'd. 

As the wind-god — in terrible glory uprisen 
From the red-meteor couch of his dingy-cloud prison — 
Bursts down on the sea, while the big waves awaken, 
Like a chain of snow-hills by an earthquake up shaken ; 
So burst o'er the land Torlogh's steel-forests glowing, 
The castles and towers of the Norman o'erthrowing ; 
Ah ! he scatter'd their strongholds from crag, glen and by- 
way, 
As the blast sweeps the dust from the dry summer-highway. 

And the people rejoiced when, from warfare and foray, 

He march'd to his halls, 'mid the trophies of glory ; 

Like a comet of light, o'er the tempest-fields burning, 

With its diadem of fire, to its orbit returning. 

Gold shower'd from his hand 'mong the Ollavs and Sages, 

Who gave a pure spirit of life to lore's pages ; 

And the hoary-brow'd priest, and the peasant-maid simple, 

Offer'd prayers for his weal, in the Holy One's temple. 

Death stole, like a blast from a desert-cloud dreary, 
And struck the proud eagle while perch'd in his eyrie ; 
In the crimson-dyed paths of the warfield he shunn'd him, 
But watched, in his peace hours, the vantage to wound him. 
Oh! would that he fell 'mid the sea-dash of slaughter, 
With the blood of his foes rolling round him, like water ! 
How proudly his ghost, o'er the battle-clang glorious, 
Would look on the field where his clans were victorious ! 

One night while the moon's yellow splendour was bright'ning, 

Yon mossy-branched oak that was slain by the lightning, 

The white-sheeted Banshee his coronach chanted 

At the foot of that old tree, by carnage-birds haunted. 

And ere the Day-herald gave silvery warning, 

To-night to make way for the pageant of morning ; 

The fierce eagle-soul of the hero was winging, 

Where yon bright aerial wells of refulgence are springing. 



THE COTTAGE MAID. 

The bells of the hill-broom were bright, 

And each cloud, that the sun's glory swims on, 

Prom its breast flung a jewel of light, 
In their blossomy rings of deep crimson. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 237 

Mother Nature demanded a draught 
From the rain-god, who instantly gave it, 

While her young infant blossom-buds laugh 'd, 
As they held their sweet mouths to receive it. 

I turn'd from the road to a cot, 

With a helmet of straw newly crested ; 
Beside the low entrance I sat — 

On a bench of green fern I rested — 
The pale, yellow border of thatch 

Spread its sheltering canopy o'er me, 
When click went the sound of the latch, 

And out stepp'd an angel before me ! 

While I gazed on the beautiful form, 

The blood to my temples was rushing, 
As her face, like a summer-noon warm, 

Turn'd towards me, half-smiling and blushing ! 
Her hair look'd like gossamer-rings 

Woven round a white flower by the fairies ; 
And her eyes glanced, like two sunny springs 

Surrounded by snow-drops and berries. 

Have you seen — when the eve-spirit spins 

Its dim weft of silver-barr'd shadows — 
How the dew-mist of nightfall begins 

To weave its white fringe o'er the meadows ? 
So light was the flow of her gown 

Round the small feet that glided beneath it, 
Half-seen, like the cean-a-bhan's down 

By the screen of the fairy heath shaded. 

I 'rose and uncovered my head, 

My form to a bow partly swaying, 
Not a sentence I breathed, or said, 

My heart was so many things saying! 
She invited me in from the shower, 

With an accent that savour'd of laughter, 
While she gaily return'd to the door, 

And I, at a bound, followed after. 

I sat, at her cheerful desire, 

On a chair, while herself fill'd another ; 
And there, by the bright-blazing fire, 

We began to speak with each other ; 
Our topic was Old Ireland's cares, 

And her rights in the hand of a stranger ; 
Then I humm'd o'er a few Irish Airs, 

And gloriously sang the " Avenger /" 



238 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 

I watch'd how the soul in her eyes, 

To the sound of the measure kept dancing, 
Like a sunburst that shoots from the skies, 

Thro' the azure-fringed summer-clouds glancing. 
I mark'd how the lily and rose, 

On her cheek, in their sweet play, changed places, 
Each lighting its hue to disclose 

The kindest and brightest of faces. 

She went o'er the song, every part, 

And said that my singing was clever ; 
While her image leap'd into my heart, 

To remain in its chamber for ever. 
The rain-god's oblation was o'er, 

And the sun-shafts thro' broken clouds darted, 
When a carriage drove up to the door,* 

And she bade me farewell,- and departed. 



THE EMIGRANT'S STORY. 
One morning as the pearls of day 

Lay fresh upon the glistening earth, 
A peasant-crowd came down the way, 

With sounding fifes and reckless mirth. 
Tall, comely youths and bright-faced maids, 

And men mature, composed the band ; 
Mothers and sires with silvery heads, 

Leaving their ill-starr'd Native Land. 
Alas ! the landlord's iron hand 

Had driven them from their homes so dear, 
To seek upon a foreign strand, 

The bread which Law denied them here. 
Awhile upon the road they stay'd, 

A maniac- joy they seem'd to feel, 
'Mid ringing cheers, each youth and maid 

Began to dance an Irish reel. 
Oh ! playful sorrow — every brow 

Bright as a rainbow-gleam appears ; 
And yet those eyes, so joyous now, 

Are only cheated of their tears ! 

But why does yonder dark-brow'd youth 

From the sad pleasure hold apart ? 
As if affliction's poisonous tooth, 

Was fasten'd in his suffering heart ? 

* The event related in the text, happened to a young man (an acquaint- 
ance of the author), in a certain part of this country. Instead of a pea- 
sant J maiden, who he supposed was his entertainer, he had enjoyed the 
society and converse of a noble lord's daughter, in the cottage of one of 
her father's tenants, whilst awaiting the arrival of some of her lady com- 
panions. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 239 

It was not thus — some months agone, 

There was not in the county Clare, 
At hurling, dancing, wit, and fun, 

A happier boy than Con O'Hehir. 
One of the regal Dalcas race, 

Proud, generous, hospitable, bold, 
Mighty in form and fair of face, 

Like his brave, high-soul'd sires of old 
The farm he held was but a mite 

Of his old, patrimonial lands ; 
Even that became a stranger's right, 

And all was wrested from his hands. 
Against the iron will of fate 

He struggled on 'till last May-day, 
When for the robber Poor-law rate, 

His only cow was driven away. 
The harvest brought a blighted crop, 

Potatoes and some little wheat, 
And oats — the markets were not up, 

The greedy landlord would not wait. 
The agent, like the devil, ran, 

With all his jackals of the law, 
And levell'd Con's poor dwelling down, 

And turn'd him off, not worth a straw, 
While on the bleak and bare road-side, 

His mother, with her thin hair gray, 
Was cast to die — and would have died, 

By the cold dyke, that bitter day, 
But a poor neighbour took her in — 

(None, save the poor, feel for the poor), 
And ere the morn awoke again, 

Her earthly debt of pain was o'er ; 
And at her low and lonely bed, 

Her stricken, persecuted son 
Bent sullen o'er the tranquil dead, 

Yet not a drop of sorrow ran ; 
With silent, stony, tearless stare, 

His eyes were fixed upon the breast 
That nurtured his young life with care, 

And hush ? d his infant cries to rest. 
But as he darkly hung above 

Those eyes where now no soul-ray burn'd, 
Her former smile, and look of love, 

Seem'd still upon him fondly turn'd, 
As if her spirit linger'd nigh, 

Ere rising to its heavenly place, 
And cast from its celestial eye, 

A farewell glance upon his face : 
She look'd as if she slept and dream'd — 

In her cold hand the cross was press'd ; 
And beautiful in death she seem'd, 

In Mary's sacred habit dress'd. 



240 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

There in the solitary shed, 

At the first dingy gleam of day, 

The all-atoning Mass was said, 
For the poor soul that pass'd away. 

Still Con, with gather'd look of gloom, 

Bent o'er his mother's features dim, 
As if no living breath found room 

Between the lonely corpse and him. 
The thought flash'd on him — " Was she flung 

" Thus in the twilight of her years, 
To perish " — Oh ! his soul was wrung, 

He groaned aloud, and burst in tears. 
" Yes, yes !" he shriek'd, "I could not save 

The roof that shelter' d your gray hair ! 
But when you're lying in the grave, 

No agent shall molest you there ! 
I fondly dreamt some brighter day 

Would dawn upon my life's dark stage, 
When I might struggle to repay, 

And bless you in your helpless age ! 
While God would give me health and strength 

To win the meed that toil secures, 
'Till your last moment would be spent, 

My corner and my heart were yours ! 
But all your griefs are hush'd to rest, 

Here on this damp death-bed of straw ; 
You're not the first, nor yet the last, 

Sent to the grave by British law ! 
Rest on — the fiend that wrought this woe, 

Before the eyes of heaven I swear, 
This very night, shall lie as low, 

If there be lead or steel in Clare ! 
And though I wail and weep for thee — 

(Whatever fate your son befalls), 
Thank God, you did not live to see 

The poorhouse and its dreary halls I 
Bless death ! that spared you not to share 

The double dole of want and age ! 
Bless heaven ! you did not live to wear 

A pauper's vile, detested badge ! 
You once enjoyed a warm house, 

When I was in my boyhood's dawn ; 
I counted then a hundred cows 

Within my father's milking bawn ! 
The wandering scholar was our guest, 

Your hand was full for all the poor ; 
The traveller, seeking food and rest, 
. Turn'd joyful to our friendly door ! 

/ If lord or agent wrong'd you then, 

Small safe-guard were the Saxon laws ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 241 

Full twice two hundred daring men, 

Would rush to battle in your cause ! 
The day my father's corpse was brought 

To the old Abbey-walls of Clare ; 
The Macs and Clancys boldly fought, 

His coffin to the grave to bear ! * 
All, all are gone, and you have none 

To join your scanty funeral band ! 
The blessed clay, and cold, gray stone, 

Must be laid o'er you by my hand ! 
Yet, if from their dark graves, grass-grown 

Our kindred dead could speak and see, 
You would not thus be lorn and lone, 

For thousands there would welcome thee !" 

When the red twilight tinged the wave, 

They brought her to the abbey gray, 
And laid her in the self-same grave 

Where years before her husband lay. 
A plain deal coffin wrapped her frame, 

The price of it a neighbour lent ; 
Her epitaph — the Saviour's name — 

The shamrock sod, her monument. 
Her funeral cortege numbered ten, 

Her humble bier was borne by four, 
They laid her down — the grave closed in — 

They said one prayer, and all was o'er. 
Peaceful and happy she sleeps on, 

Untroubled in her grassy tomb ; 
But her forlorn, heart- wounded son, 

Returns to-night without a home ; 
And ere the dawn-star showed its ray, 

A bloody deed his hand had dyed ; 
But his young sweet-heart, Peggy Dea, 

Like heaven itself was at his side. 
Her rich heart with a wild bird's bound, 

Into his very being flew ; 
The darker his misfortunes frown'd, 

The stronger her affections grew. 
Gentle as the blessed hour 

When first the new-made heavens shone, 
She was the only desert flower, 

By mercy in his dark path thrown. 
Since childhood's happy, golden day, 

Their young hearts for each other beat, 
Like two fair sun-clad boughs of May, 

Which mix'd their leaves and blossoms sweet. 



* Fought for precedence to carry the coffin, as a mark of their respefc and 
veneration for the deceased. The custom is still practised. . \ 



242 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Together on the vernal hills 

They stray'd when summer's buds were born ; 
Together, o'er the bright-green fields, 

They went to Mass each Sunday morn. 
But never to her eyes, 'till now, 

Did he appear so stern and strange; 
The gloom of anger wrapt his brow 

Where slept the lightning of revenge ; 
And as the sunburst of her gaze 

On his dark features cast its light, 
She saw his awful eyeballs blaze, 

Like wild-fire on a bleak March-night. 
With clasped hands and eyes upraised 

She gently cried: "Con! Con astore ! 
'Tis hard upon you — heaven be praised — 

But, cushla, think of it no more ! 
Believe me, dearest love ! ere long, 

Bright days will dawn for you — for me — 
Forgive the author of your wrong — 

Leave him to God — astore machree ! 
Come to my father's house, and share 

Our fire-side, and our bed, and board ; 
Oh ! bright shall be your welcome there 

To everything we can afford ; 
Now, dash away that gloomy scowl, 

It ill becomes a brow so fair — 
You know my life, my heart and soul 

Are yours, dear Con ! then why despair ? 
My parents have no child but me, 

Their farm and stock shall all be mine ; 
I'll wed no other youth than thee, 

And all we hold shall all be thine! 
And would you from your Peggy part, 

A hideous deed of crime to do ? 
And would you break her faithful heart 

That loves none, under heaven, but you? 
I'll bare my bosom to the blow — 

'Twere mercy by your hand to bleed ! 
Rather than live to feel the woe 

That follows murder's crimson deed ! 
The dread .pursuit — the sure arrest, — 

The sentence of the vengeful law ! 
The gazing crowd, with breath supprest, 

Around the scaffold's scene of awe ! 
And is it my dear Con would have 

The rope upon his white neck there, 
To launch him to a felon's grave, 

And leave his Peggy to despair? 
Forbid it, Queen of Heaven !" she cried, 

And flung herself unon his breast; 
Her blue eyes melted in a tide 

Of rolling tears that told the rest. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 243 

The darkness of his rigid brow, 

Soften'd to light and roll'd away, 
As mist that wraps the mountain-snow 

Dissolves before the eye of day. 
He kiss'd the rose-bloom of her cheek, 

And said: "Tho' wrong'd and poor I be, 
I'm not so heartless, base or weak, 

As to give pain or grief to thee ! 
Ay, let the sordid tyrant live — 

His worthless blood I shall not take — 
Peggy ! I could forget — forgive — 

A million wrongs for your dear sake ! 
'Tis not the dread of tyrant laws 

That makes me from my nurpose start ; 
But not for empires would I cause 

One pang to rend your loving heart 1 
Tho' fortune and the world may prove 

To me a quicksand and a snare, 
The brightness of your constant love 

Sweetens my cup of evil there ! 
Farewell! my gentle, angel dear! 

My lot is cast in other lands, 
Where fortune's golden meed shall cheer 

The labour of my toiling hands ! 
I will return to you again — 

But never penniless and poor — 
My footstep shall not cross, 'till then, 

The threshold of your father's door ! 
Farewell — you never shall regret 

The love and care bestow'd on me, 
And trust me, I will not forget 

The suffering land I leave — and thee !" 
He wrung her hand, and kiss'd her brow — 

Their gushing hearts' -showers mixed in one- 
He whisper'd in her ear a vow — 

Breathed a blessing — and was gone. 



THE PRINCESS FINOLA.* 

Saw ye the young Princess Finola the bright, 
With her ringlets, like sun-glories spun from the light ? 
And her shoulders of beauty, whose white waxen mould 
Seems a turret of marble o'erclouded with gold ? 

* Finola, i.e., " Fair shoulder." She was one of the daughters of Connor 
na Srona O'Brien, King of Thomond (a.d. 1466), and became the wife of 
Hugh Boe O'Donnell, Prince of Tyrconnell and grandfather to the cele- 
brated Red Hugh, who made such glorious resistance, in conjunction frith 
Hugh O'Neill, against the armies of Queen Elizabeth. 



244 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Have ye seen, when the dawn from its purple-draped throne, 
Announces the gorgeous approach of the sun — 
The rose-dyes that burst thro' the mist-fringes white ? 
So gentle's the blush of Finola the bright. 

Have ye mark'd on the emerald finger of Spring, 
All set in dew-diamonds, the daisy's sweet ring, 
With a rich, scarlet border encircling its white? 
Such the teeth and the lips of Finola the bright. 

Have ye seen a young apple-tree stirr'd by the wind 
Which runs off with its sweets, and then drops them behind ; 
While its blossoms all shake with a laugh of delight ? 
So heaves the fair breast of Finola the bright. 

Have ye seen, when the snow-spirit moveth on high, 
Thro' his silver-cloud palace-halls hung in the sky — 
How the thin vapour-drapery floats in the light ? 
Such the motion and ease of Finola the bright. 

Have ye seen, when the moon thro' the twilight blue swims, 
A bed of May-lilies asleep on their stems, 
How they glow, in their dreams, with the kisses of night ? 
Such the small hand and foot of Finola the bright. 

Have ye seen, when the brown-bosom' d harvest comes on, 
How the ripe-glist'ning blackberries glance in the sun, 
When the sudden beams burst on the mountain's blue height ? 
Such the dark -glowing eyes of Finola the bright. 

Have ye heard, in the Spring time of Fancy's young dreams, 
The sounding of harps or the singing of streams, 
When the dawn of first love steeps the soul in its light ? 
So sweet is the voice of Finola the bright. 

Have ye seen, when the eve of a sweet summer day, 
Like the soul of a dying saint, stealeth away, 
How calm Nature rests in the blue heaven's sight ? 
So gentle and kind is Finola the bright. 

Have ye seen, in the heart of the lily's white bell, 
A pure, morning- crystal from heaven's blue well, 
Glancing tremblingly up at its birthplace of light ? •' 

So rich is the soul of Finola the bright. 



NIGHT-THOUGHTS. 

The yellow-orbed moon o'er the blue mountain hung, 
And the Bells of the Legend their night-anthem rung, 
While the angels seem'd catching the echoes on high, 
As if deeming their music too glorious to die ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 345 

I stood by the rush of the waters alone, 
And the sound of those bells brought a dream in its tone, 
For I thought of the bright hours when, happy and free, 
I stole, in the calm summer- twilights, to thee ! 

How pensive the soul thro' life's desert looks back 

On joy's wither'd flowers left behind on our track ; 

While the brightness they wore, and the pleasure they gave, 

On memory's lone altar their sweet pictures leave. 

Oh ! oft has my heart those bright images view'd, 

And wished that their lifetime again were renew'd ; 

But, 'midst their dim sunset of beauty, I see 

No night-cloud between my fond dreamings and thee ! 

Tho' the sun-gleams which brighten'd my spirit were few, 

And brief were the summer-enjoyments I knew ; 

For my heart-flowers, which panted to burst into bloom, 

Were born where no kind beams nor soft winds would come. 

Yet one blossom has grown there, all lovely and bright, 

Which the frigid north blast of misfortune can't blight ; 

For the sun that gave verdure and life to its tree, 

Was made of the soul-smiles my heart caught from thee! 

And oft in the night-hour my rapt bosom swells, 
With sorrowful delight when I hear those sweet bells ; 
For their tone on the ear of my spirit is cast, 
Like the voice of dead joys from the grave of the past. 
Then I think of the hours which thy kind smiles made dear, 
'Till each fond thought leaps up from my heart, with a tear, 
Like wild summer-bees, on their dew-kissing wings, 
All laden with honey, but arm'd with stings. 

Oh ! would that my grave were on yonder bright hill, 

Where the moon's yellow curtain hangs dewy and still ; 

My heart to its death-sleep I'd calmly resign, 

If I thought thy dear ashes would mingle with mine ! 

Our hearts in one grave, and our fond souls above — 

On earth and in heaven united in love ; 

And my heavenliest joy in that bright sphere would be, 

In thy pure angel-brightness, to gaze upon thee ! 



GARADH EARLA* AND THE TWO COOPERS. 

A LEGEND OF* LOGUH GUR. 

Once on a sunbright holiday, 
Sometime, methinks, in June or May — 
I cannot name the day exact, 
Altho' my story is a fact — 

* It is said that Garadh Earla haunts Lough Gur, and is, at certain times, 
seen riding his war-horse over the waters, like the O'Uonoghue at the Lakes 
of Killaraey. 



246 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND, 

Two coopers who, for months, were wishing 
To spend some pleasant hours, in fishing, 
Arose, with morning's earliest beam, 
Glad in the prospect of their game. 
If you require their names to know 
I'll introduce them — Jim and Joe — 
Two craftsmen of as gallant mettle, 
As ever used an adze or whittle. 

Their workshop was the sole resort 

Of every wag that look'd for sport ; 

And there the wildest tales were told 

Of fairies, ghosts, and hidden gold. 

How Terry Flynn and Darby Roche 

Were blinded by the Headless Coach, 

For peeping through the keyhole out, 

To watch it in its midnight route. 

How lame Teige Connell's house was haunted, 

But Teige himself was never daunted, 

Altho' the grisly spirit maul'd him, 

And half-way up the chimney haul'd him ; 

How a young woman of the Leary's 

Was nursing babies for the fairies ; 

And how the mournful banshee cried, 

Before Paudh Hehir's mother died. 

How drunken, roaring Paul Magee 

Dreamt there was gold beneath a tree, 

Hid in Bill Ryan's garden-end, 

Close watch'd and guarded by a fiend. 

And how, one night, to raise a spree, 

Paul brought a spade to root the tree; 

But a huge dog, as black as hell, 

Leap'd at his throttle, with a yell ; 

Paul used his shanks, at headlong flight, 

And fainted when he saw the light.* 

With such wild legendary feasts, 

Brave Jim and Joe regaled their guests ; 

And while the curious yarns were spun, 

Tubs, casks, and cans were left undone. 

But if the listeners laugh'd or sneer'd, 

At once a hostile scene appear'd, * 

For Jim and Joe, with staves and cleavers, 

Routed the clan of disbelievers. 

But to proceed — the morning broke, 
And Jim, from pleasant dreams awoke ; 
And giving sleepy Joe a kick, 
Dislodged him from the pillow quick ; 

• It is believed that any person who sees an apparition, faints imme- 
diately on looking at the light of a candle. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 247 

And drove him tumbling from the bed, 

About the floor, upon his head. 

Joe clench'd his fist — began to swear — 

And pray'd for Jim an early prayer ; 

But as his neck-bone was not broke, 

He changed his temper to a joke. 

" Oh ! Joe," says Jim, " I dreamt, last night, 

A pike, as big as Barrington's-quay, 
Snapp'd at my bait, and, with a bite, 

Took rod and line, and wheel away ! 
I saw him chop the hickory rod, 
Just as a bullock chews the cud : 
About the hook he cared as little, 
Even as I to swing a whittle ! 
But when the rod was chopp'd and swallow'd, 
He raised his head, and roar'd, and bellow'd ; 
And leap'd to gulp me for his luncheon, 
Opening his huge mouth, liks a puncheon ! 
I thought to run — but devil a shin 

Could I draw upwards from the mud, 
And there, for more than minutes ten, 

As firmly as if hoop'd, I stood ! 
Until I found his huge jaws both 

Coming in contact with my ears, 
And headlong down his mighty throat 

r roll'd, as one would fall down stairs ! 
I landed safely in his maw, 

Across my eyes I drew my hand — 
And look'd about — and found — and saw 

That I was in Australia's land. 
Up came my sister to my side, 

Biddy, and my poor uncle Tim ; 
' Oh ! mona-mon-doul /' they wildly cried, 
' You're welcome from ould Ireland — Jim ! 
Say, how the devil did you come, 
And how are all the friends at home ; 
Tell us of everyone that married, 
And everyone that's dead and buried ! 
Does Ireland still pay all England's debt ? 
Or is O'Connell speeching yet ? 
We're told they put him into jail, 
For only asking the Repeal ! 
We heard by Paddy Croker's letter, 
That all the Praties fail'd together ; 
That poor John Mitchell was transported, 
Because he was so valiant-hearted, 
To tell the people to get pikes, 
Before they'd die like dogs in dykes ! 
That Meagher and Q'Brien had gone 
To raise a row at Slieve-na-mon ; 



248 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

That they were taken — tried — condemn'd ;— 
And Doheny hunted, like a fiend ; 
That Duffy, Reilly — patriots true — 
Dishearten'd, knew not what to do ; 
For England, with one wily stroke, 
The heart of Patriotism broke. 

If Ireland stands such work much longer, 
Why, by my soul, she'll die of hunger ! 
Oh ! better die in Freedom's battle, 
Than suffer more than horned cattle!' 

" 'Welcome or not !' says I, 'I've come 
To the New World — and here I am ! 
Tho' devil a ship, or steamer going 
On water, did I put a toe in ! 
But as to news — I'll tell ye nothing — 
For ye have such a large stock got in ; 
Ye are as cramm'd with information, 
As if ye swallow 'd Duffy's Nation. 
Now if I could attain my wish — 
The devil roast that hungry fish — 
I'd give Australia — land and main — 
To be in Ireland, back again !' 

'"If that be all that ails you, Jim,' 

Cried — with a laugh — my uncle Tim, 

' Your friends are ready to befriend you, 

And back to Ireland safe they'll send you ! 

But wear this keepsake for us both, 

It is a warm gold-frieze-coat ; 

I purchased it from Paddy Higgins, 

Who said he found it at the diggins !' 

'Bravo !' says I — and on it went — 

Och ! zounds ! I look'd a monument 

Of glittering gold, as soft and fine, 

As if I were dug out o' the mine V 

But soon it lost its golden hue, 

And quickly into paper grew ; 

And there I was — upon my oath — 

Enveloped closely, like a note. 

' Maybe !' says I, ' I am a letter, 

With money in it — devil a better — 

Or maybe that my uncle sends 

Me for his likeness to his friends !" 

" Off to the post at once they took me, 

And headlong through the port-hole stuck me ; 

And in I tumbled, white and fair, 

As well as any letter there ! 

' God save all here !' I kindly said, 

Just as I roll'd upon my head ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 249 

And snugly lay among the pack, 

With an inscription on my back ! 

But very soon we were haul'd out, 

And for our quarters got the route ; 

The postman press'd me with a stamp, 

'Till in my ribs I got a cramp ; 

And only — between you and me — . 

I didn't like to let him see 

I was a man, and not a letter, 

I'd make the rascal treat me better ! 

Into a thing they call the Mail, 

Smaller and darker than a jail, 

He stuck me, with some dozens more, 

Directed to the Irish shore ! 

Scarce had I landed safely, when 

We were all stamp'd and bagg'd again, 

And thro' the city hawk'd about, 

From house to house, like plaice or trout. 

The carrier took me in his hand, 

' Money !' he mutter' d, very low — 
I knew at once the fellow plann'd 

To open me — my worth to know — 
* Murder!' roar'd I, from the envelope — 

He dropp'd me, like a coal of fire, 
And off he scamper 'd, in a gallop, 
And left me lying in the mire. 
A big black Peeler pick'd me up — 
I cried out, * Stop the robber ! — stop !* 
He dash'd me clinking on the flags, 
And ran as if he'd got new legs. 
At once a crowd began to gather ; 
Some said I was the devil's ' letther,' 
That some attorney's clerk had lost, 
Going or coming from the post. 
And there I lay upon the ground, 
With laughing crowds, all talking round ; 
At last I knew, amidst the noise 
Of many tongues, Bryan Sheehy's voice ; 
*.Och, Bryan !' says I, 'I'll be your debtor, 
If you release me from this letter ; 
Don't be afraid, I'm not a ghost, 
But your friend Jim that came by post, 
From Australia, all the way, 
Telegraphed across the sea !' 
Bryan took me up — the seal he broke — 
I gave a mad shout — and awoke ! 

Now was not that a curious dream ?" 
"By Jove !" says Joe, " I dreamt the same 

And thought a fish, like Keeper-hill, 
Rose from the bottom of the lake, 

17 



250 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And gobbled up my rod and wheel, 

As if it were a fat beefsteak ! 
I heard his mighty. jaw- teeth crashing, 

Like millstones grinding Indian corn ; 
And saw his moonlike eyes red flashing, 

Like lightning on a harvest morn ! 
But soon those awful-glaring eyes 
Turn'd into large wheels, carriage-size ; 
And the huge gills of silvery hue, 
Into a pair of horses grew ; 
His back-fins changed to milk-white manes, 
His side-fins turn'd to glittering reins ; 
And his bright, pearl scale-clad body * 

Changed sudden to as grand a carriage 
As ever held a lord and lady, 

On the gay morning of their marriage ! 
And in that gorgeous car sat one, 

With breast and neck, and arms the whitest, 
And ringlets of the loveliest brown, 

And sweetest mouth, and eyes the brightest, 
That e'er bewitch 'd the heart of man — 

Nature, you'd think, took years to ponder 
On some super-excellent plan, 

To mould and paint this lovely wonder ! 
I heard her angel- voice ring clear — 

Thus sweetly spoke the beauteous vision, 
' Young man, come sit beside me here ! 

For thine shall be a splendid mission !' 
I blush'd to think that one so mean 

As I, in my old working-dress, 
Should in a carriage thus be seen 

Beside such radiant loveliness ; 
'No, please your majesty !' I cried — 

For sure you are the queen of beauty ! 
My station can't be at your side, 

Tho' at your feet I'd kneel in duty I 
I am an humble son of trade !' — 
• Hush, hush !' she mutter'd, "list, and hear me 
My bridal feast's already made, 

And thou art destined to be near me ! 
Ay, destined to receive my hand, 

And rule the realm of this bright water, 
Where thou shalt reign, like monarch grand, 

The spouse of Garadh Ear^la's daughter !' 
At this my spirit grew elated, 

To hear a queen proposing marriage ; 
No longer then I hesitated, 

But leap'd into the splendid carriage — 
Yet where the devil did I leap 

But right into the gloomy water ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. ^ 

And sank head foremost in the deep, 

And saw no more of Garadh's daughter ! 
Down went I, like a lump of lead, 
'Till forty feet beneath the flood, 
I stood, legs upwards, for my head 

Was buried in a bank of mud ; 
I kick'd and struggled to get free, 

Yet deep and deeper down I sunk, 
If any one's here, thought I, to see 

Me in this state, he'll think I'm drunk! 
But soon my Christian senses fled — 

I grew elastic as spring-steel, 
For there I was, — gills, tail, and head — 

Changed to a yellow, twining eel ! 
Still I could think, and understand, 

How I had been a man before ; 
Says I, ' I daren't swim to land, 

For I'd be flay'd if caught on shore !' 
So as an eel I was content, 

And in the mud I made my bed ; 
At night, with other eels I went, 

And on small shells and insects fed ! 
But, one fine morning, while I loll'd, 

Upon a sandy bottom brown, 
A tempting bait before me roll'd, 

Between the long weeds, floating down ! 
Soon as the gilded thing I saw, 

I snatch'd and caught it in my mouth ; 
The hook stuck firmly in my jaw, 

And wild with pain I danced about ; 
With all his might the angler haul'd 

Me up, thro' weeds and water, twining ; 
And fiercely for the gaff he call'd, 

And then I saw its sharp point shining 
Above my back — one minute more, 

When through my ribs I felt it tearing, 
And leaping, I was dragg'd on shore, 

While fellows gather'd round me, swearing ! 
Each, with a wattle in his hand, 

And mischief in his wild eyes flashing, 
Flailed me about thro' sedge and sand, 
Like spalpeens in a barn threshing ! 
My back was broke, my ribs were sore, 

And still the devils continued beating $ 
Says one, ' The thief will swim no more ; 

Now bring him home — he's fit for eating V 
* You lie,' says I, ' I am not dead,' — 

When, lo ! you kick'd me from the bed ; 
But dreams and visions ever vary, 
And always turn out contrary ; 



252 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Yet I can judge by each wild dream, 
We'll have a prosperous day's game 1" 

Now for Lough Gur's blue flood they steer'd, 

For their day s humour, well prepared ; 

They carried fishing-rods, as strong 

As a brig's topmast, and as long. 

They bore a gaff whose strength of form 

Might hold a galley in a storm ; 

'Twas like the anchor of the Ark, 

Or some great Cyclop's handy-work, 

Design'd for gaffing whale and shark. 

To kill the fish, Joe brought a wattle, 

And Jim secured a tight cork'd bottle 

Of Stein's pure malt, whose spirit mellow 

Would make a Stoic a loving fellow ; 

And I assure you, for example, 

If you go angling with a " sample" 

You'll catch, with all your heart's best wishes, 

A multitude of blessed fishes. 

When at the Lake they had arrived, 

To get a boat they soon contrived ; 

A well-built waterproof concern, 

Close caulk'd and tarr'd from stem to stern. 

With painted paddle, firm in hand, 

They drove her from the sedgy strand ; 

And in the deep, dark waters flung 

Their pike-baits twirling slow along, 

They troll'd the wide Lake, round and round, 

But, small or large, no fish they found ; 

So they began to calculate, 

After the day's expiring heat, 

The finny tribe, like human sinners, 

Might feel a whet to eat their dinners. 

And, with this truthful hope inspired, 

They waited 'till the sun retired — 

Spread their repast, and exercised it. 

And with the drop of malt baptised it. 

The sun went down, with burning blushes; 
The song-birds sought the sheltering bushes ; 
The corncreak commenced his croon, 
And up the blue east stole the moon. 
Large pitch-black clouds, with inky fringe, 
Gave the lone Lake an ebon tinge ; 
The billows roll'd with moanings drear, 
like suffering spirits in despair ; 
The gale blew with a sullen howl, 
Shrill screamed the restless waterfowl ; 
Black grew the rayless brow of night, 
As if the moon had lost her light; 



tAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 263 

Midway upon the Lake's dark breast, 

The boat a moment seem'd to rest, 

As if some hidden thing of force 

Had stopp'd her in her drifting course ; 

The fishers leaned upon her side, 

And look'd into the deep, dark tide, 

And saw an arm'd chieftain stand, 

Beneath the waters, stern and grand ; 

His breast was clad with silver mail, 

His limbs were sheathed in burnish'd steel, 

And a gold helmet, on his head, 

Such burning rays of glory shed, 

That all the brightest polish'd gems 

Of Europe's kingly diadems 

Seem'd in a blazing halo roll'd 

Around the ornamented gold. 

Awhile the craftsmen speechless gazed, 

With wonder, in the sun-bright tide, 
That like a mine of jewels blaz d, 

In rings of light, on every side, 
As if the brightest orbs that hung 

In the dim, blue crystalline sphere, 
Were melted in one mass, and flung 

In fiery waves of splendour there. 

" Give me the gaff 1" in accents low, 

Said honest Jim, addressing Joe, 

" 111 hook that golden hat — why, zounds ! 

Look, man, 'tis worth a million pounds! 

If I can gaff it off his head, 

Then, 'pon my oath ! our fortune's made ; 

We'll be as rich as Jews or Quakers — 

All Rothschild 's fortune's in that hat — 
More than would buy a million acres, 

Landlords and all, and more than that ; 
Think, man ! what glorious sprees we'll raise ? 

At balls how grand we'll turn out ? 
People will stare in mute amaze, 

While, like two lords we'll dash about ! 
Our carriage thro' the streets shall rattle, 
With servants and postillions brave — 
Courage, they say, is half the battle, 

And nothing venture, nothing have !" 

Now leaning o'er the boat's low side, 
He thrusts the gaff beneath the tide ; 
And in the chieftain's ear he stuck 
The rusty-pointed iron crook. 
The chieftain, with a furious roar 
Shook the whole Lake from shore to shore; 



264 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And to the surface of the stream, 

With one indignant bound, he came ; 

The frightened Coopers seized each oar, 

And pull'd, like madmen, for the shore , 

While in a whirl of tide and wind, 

The angry Spectre strode behind! 

The Lake against its banks rebell'd, 

And o'er its sounding borders swell'd ; 

The lightning blazed — the thunder roll'd, 

The woods grew mad — the tempest howl'd — 

The clouds around the sky were hurl'd, 

Like smoke- wreaths of a burning world ; 

Each red flash, like a fiery snake, 

Leap'd on the storm's back round the Lake, 

Dancing the universal fling 

Upon the tempest's mighty wing. 

The rain-god dash'd his cloud-gates wide, 

And downward plunged the aerial tide; 

Proclaiming, with its awful sound, 

How thus the ancient world was drown'd. 

Dazzled with lightning — drench'd with rain, 

They tug the heavy oars in vain ; 

Amid the elemental rout, 

From wave to wave, they're dash'd about ; 

Blinded with teeming rain and spray, 

Each pulls his oar a different way ; 

And the crazed boat is whirl'd along, 

Like goal-ball 'midst a hurling throng. 

Still Garadh Earla fiercely press'd 

Upon them, with his flaming crest ; 

Near and more near his fiery plume 

Is sparkling thro' the stormy gloom ; 

At last, with one gigantic stride, 

He's scowling o'er the vessel's side — 

Joe groan'd — Jim gave a frantic yell, 

And fainting from the seats they fell — 

The boat's strong ; stern the Spectre seized, 

And crew and, all in air upraised ; 

And, as a stone hurl'd from a sling, 

He drove them, with one mighty swing, 

From the Lake's centre to the strand, 

Deep, rooting in the sedge and sand. 

Awhile, insensible as clay, 

Amid the broken wreck they lay ; 

At last they 'rose, and stared about, 

" By Jove !" says Joe, " our dreams are out !" 

Now if this story's truth you'd know, 
Go learn the tale from Jim and Joe ! 
But, if you seem to doubt one tittle, 
They'll cleave your ear off, with a whittle. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 255 



PADDY MAC CARTHY TO HIS BRIDGET 
MAC SHEEHY. 

Air. — ' ' Paudheen O'Bafferty, " 

Arrah, Bridgid Mac Sheehy. your eyes are the death o' me, 
And your laugh, like a fairy sthroke, knocks out the breath 



o me 



The devil a cobweb of slumber, till dawn'd the day, 

Has cum to my lids, while the long night I yawn'd away ! 

Och, you heart-killing imp, 'twas your witchery puzzled me, 

Like a bird by a night-wisp, your beauty has dazzled me ! 

I'd rather be forty miles running away wid you, 

Than live to be parted, ten minutes, one day wid you ! 

Ton my sowl, I was dhraming last night that you came to me 

Wid your own purty smile, like a sweet drink of cream to me, 

Says you, "Paddy Carthy, I'm cuming to marry you !" 

" Och, my jewel," says I, " to his Riverince 111 carry you !" 

So I thought my poor heart gave'a thump, like a prize-fighter, 

As off to the chapel I jump'd, like a lamplighter ; 

But scarce had the priest time to see how his robe was on, 

When — och, blood-an'-turf ! — I awoke 'ere the job was done - 

Now troth, 'tsa heartache, betune you an' I, Biddy ! 

To let that sly rogue of a dhrame tell a lie, Biddy ! 

If your sweet mouth just says, "my dear boy, here's my hand 

to you!" 
By the lord of Kilsmack ! Paddy Carthy will stand to you ! 
In the meadow I'll mow, in the haggard 111 work for you ; 
Say the word, an' 111 walk on my head to New York for you 
My heart wid the heat of devotion so beats for you, 
'Tis just like a little child crying for sweets to you ! 

Did you hear what a great name my ancesthors had of id ? 
From Blarney to Munsther they own'd every sod of id ; 
The MacCarthy Mores they wor christen'd by raison, sure, 
Of their fighting and feasting bein' always in saisin, sure I 
Arrah, thim wor the boys that kep up the ould cause for us, 
Ere a red robbing sthranger cum here wid mock laws for us ! 
Rale jewels they wor for love, spendin' and sportin' too, 
An' sure I'm a boy of their clan that's now courtin' you ! 

There's Judy Moloney, wid ten on the watch for her — 
Her uncle cum to me to make up match a for her ; 
There's Thady Mulready, by Loch Quinlan's water, clear, 
Faith, he'd gi' me six cows if I'd marry his daughter, dear ! 
But no, by the powers ! I wud rather go beg wid you, 
Hopping from village to town on wan leg wid you, 
Than be walking on two, wid a rich heiress stuck to me ; 
If I'm not speaking true to you, darling, bad luck to me ! 



256 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

You're the queen of the lilies that grew up so tenderly, 
An' your leg is as fair as white wax, moulded slenderly 
The berries are so like your lips that the pick of 'em, 
I pluck'd from the bush till I ate myself sick of 'em ! 
Where the hawtree its flowers to the sunbeams is handing up 
I saw, like your white neck, a blossom-branch standing up, 
I climb' d to get at it — you'd pity the trim o' me — 
For, bad luck to the thorns, they carved every limb o' me ! 

I'll purchase the best wedding ring in the town for you I 
Or, by thunder, to make one, I'd pull the moon down for you 
If I could lay my hand on the sun for a crown for you, 
Sure I'd be the boy wud win light and renown for you ! 
Now, Biddy, my jewel ! what have you to say to me ? 
Just give up your heart without f arthur delay to me ; 
And I will bless this as a glorious fine day to me — 
If a queen got such courting, by Jove, she'd give way to me ! 



THE ROSE OF ARDCREGAN. 

A Maiden-blossom mildly blooms 

Where bright Ardcregan's mansion towers ; 
And wild bees fill their honeycombs 

With golden nectar from the flowers. . • 
I've sung of Thomond's virgin grace, 

And blue-eyed Limerick's stately girls, 
But yet the Kose of beauty's race 

Is Lizzy of the radiant curls. 

I saw her in Ardcregan's hall, 

With beamy ringlets round her spread ; 
As if some loving sprite let fall 

A shower of sunbeams on her head ; 
Above her bosom's gentle swell 

Her young face glow'd with heaven's bright soul ; 
Like morning o'er the lily's bell, 

When Nature's pearl shines in its bowl. 

How brightly glows the April dawn 

Upon the heath -flowers of Knoc More ? 
And whitely blows the Cean-na-bhan 

On wild Cuilmain's enchanted shore ; 
The dawn so bright— the flower so white, 

Like her fair cheek and bosom glow — 
"Her neck's like Obhin's sacred height 

When clad with stainless sunny snow. 

'Tis not her witching charms of youth 
That touch'd my soul with silent joy ; 

But 'tis her heart's exalted truth 
That shows- the angel in her eye — 



MISSING 
PAGE(S) 



MISSING 
PAGE(S) 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 269 

Crouching and fawning, and praying for grace, 
And kissing the scourge of his country and race ! 

But away to the field, Baus gaun Soggort, away ! 

There are conquests and honour before us to-day ; 

I'll cool my red vengeance, and crown my desire, 

With a place on the sod and a banquet of fire ! 



MO BOCHAILLIN DOUN. 

Air. — "My Mother-in-law." 
Shrovetide is coming, the dear happy times 
Of match-making, marriages, pancakes, and rhymes ; 
I'll put on my bonnet and new satin gown, 
For I'm going to be wed to mo Bochaillin Down !* 

Oh ! Cuishla astoir, mo Bochaillin Doun ! 

With your fair face that never was dark with a frown ; 

And your locks like the mist in the gold of the sun, 

And your lips like the wild rose, mo Bochaillin" Doun ! 

From Dublin he brought me a bright golden ring, 
And his face looked as proud as the face of a king ; 
And he sang me a song, like the harp's mellow tone, 
When I whispered, " I love you ! " mo Bochaillin Doun ! 
Oh ! Cuishla astoir, mo Bochaillin Doun ! &c. 

He loves, with a deep love, the land of his birth, 
Her name and her rights are his music on earth ; 
And 'tis you have the spirit,. the blood, and the bone, 
To fight for your country, mo Bochaillin Doun ! 
Oh !* pmshla astoir, mo Bochaillin Down ! &c. 

He is "£he best hurler and dancer in Clare, 
He cpurts at the wake, and he fights at the fair ; 
And a blow of his wattle would knock a bull down, 
For strong is the hand of mo Bochaillin Doun! 
Oh! Cuishl$ astoir, mo Bochaillin Doun! &c. 

Last Sunday he &ck'd up a row with Tom Neill, 
About Daniel' O ? €onhell, the Queen, and Repeal ; 
So he clench'ditfgrbrave fist and put Tom on his crown, 
"There's physical force!" says mo Bochaillin Doun! 
Oh! Cuishla astoir, mo Bochaillin Doun ! &c. ! 

At the races of Limerick he rode the black horse, * 
And, like lightning, he clear'd all the leaps in the course ; 
And the wild Irish Marquis from Water ford town, 
Took a treat and shook hands with mo Bochaillin Doun ! 
Oh! Cuishla astoir, mo Bochaillin Doun, &c. 

My poor fearful mother advises her child, 
To have nothing to do with a lover so wild ; 



4%& 



* Literally, pulse of my love, my little, brown boy. 



280 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

But I'll coax him, and soon cool his hot spirit down, 
And I'll tame the wild freaks of mo Bochaillin Doun f 

Oh ! Cuishla astoir, mo Bochaillin Doun ! 

With your fair face that never was dark with a frown ; 

And your locks like the mist in the gold of the sun, 

And your lips like the wild rose, mo Bochaillin Doun I 



CAPTAIN BRENNAN; OR, THE OUTLAW OF THE 
HILL/ 

Air. — "There's Whiskey in the Jar" 

Tho' this cold gloomy cell is my dwelling of sorrow, 
'Till the gallows and rope liberate me to-morrow ; 
I fear not death's coming — I sigh not with sadness, 
But, Molly, your treachery drives me to madness ! 

Oh ! false-hearted Molly ! 

Your treason and folly 
Have slain the undaunted, young Outlaw of the Hill ! 

I loved Erin's land as a child loves its mother, 

But now I must die by the laws of another ; 

Yet on Kilworth's proud hill were those law-makers by me, 

Oh ! I'd give them a trial before they would try me ! 
And 'tis there I'd do my will, 
And young Brennan would be still, 

The dauntless and^daring, young Outlaw of the Hill ! 

But the jail holds me fast, and the chains hold me faster, 
And the black, detested hangman Vill soon be my master ; 
Farewell, my dear friends, if yet I may have any, 
But my friends are too few and my enemies too many ! 
And forlorn here I pine, 
'Till the fatal rope shall twine, 
Round the neck of the dauntless, young Outlaw of the Hill ! 

Yet if Fate allow'd a chance — oh ! one little chance only — 
To free me once more on the hills wild and lonely ; 
Whether on the Galtees' side or the plains of Kilnnnane, 
Oh! then they'd catch the winds ere they catch Captain 
Brennan ! 

And no woman e'er would bring 

The law-hounds of a king, 
To chase the bold, undaunted, young Outlaw of the Hill! 

* When Brennan lay in Clonmel jail pending his execution, he w*e visited 
by many great people out of curiosity. Among the rest came a bankrupt 
Banker. "Oh, Brennan," said he, "I'm pr6ud to see, you here I" "You 
ought not," replied Brennan, " tor when the world refused your; l$t0V 1 
took them 1" '' 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 261 

I trampled the laws that my country infected, 

I plundered the rich, but the poor I respected ; 

I reign'd, like a king, spurning foeman and malice, 

And the hill was my throne and the greenwood my palace ! 

And my law was my word, 

And my fortune my sword, 
And freedom was my kingdom in the dark shades of the Hill ! 

Ye friendly glens and mountains whose fond bosoms woo'd me, 
To shelter and rest when the bloodhounds pursued me ; 
Oh ! never again in your wild shades I'll wander, 
With my blunderbuss primed and my purse filled with plunder! 

Farewell ! dear shades, farewell ! 

In other days you'll tell 
Wild tales of the daring young Outlaw of the Hill ! 

The merchant and the lord I deprived of their treasure, 

And sat on the dark heath to count it, at leisure ; 

But my hand to the weak, in pity was extended, 

And the poor man, in his need, I have always befriended ! 

And never before God, 

Has a drop of human blood 
Stain'd the hand of the daring, young Outlaw of the Hill ! 

Oh ! many a day have the red soldiers chased me, 
And in vain to the depths of the mountain glens traced me ; 
Their swiftest I outstripp'd on the morass and common, 
'Till at last I was betrayed by a false-hearted woman ! 

But shame shall mark her head, 

When silent, with the dead, 
Lies the brave and undaunted, young Outlaw of the Hill I 



THE IRISH MAIDEN TO HER LOVER. 

Air. — "Maire Ban astoir" 

Old Erin's sons are gay, 

In the camp or banquet-hall ; 
But my darling Seaan Ban Oge, 

Is the gayest of them all ! 
His manly heart beats high 

With Freedom's holy glow ; 
And the village maidens sigh 

For my Seaan Ban Oge ! 

The sunny curls play 
r O'er his forehead's snowy mould > 
Ijlis smile is ever gay, 
And his bosom warm and bold \ 

* Faix young John ; pronounce Shawn Bawn O, in singing. 



262 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

He loves his native land, 
And he hates the foreign foe — 

Red Hugh's high heart and hand,* 
Has my Seaan Ban Oge ! 

The berry on the brier, 

And the star that guides the ship ; 
Speak his eye of melting fire, 

And his ruddy, glowing lip ; 
The pearl, all refined, 

From the ocean-sands below, 
Tells the beauty of your mind, 

My brave Seaan Ban Oge ! 

I love him, as the bee 

Loves the dewy sweets of May — * 
As the song-bird loves the tree 

In a sultry summer's day — 
As the floweret loves the dew, 

When the twilight splendours glow, 
So my throbbing heart loves you, 

My brave Seaan Ban Oge ! 

Had I the wealth of old 
That to Brian's palace flow'd ; 

Or all the gems and gold 

That Prince Morogh's hand bestow'd ;f 

Or if Thomond's fields were mine, 
That with milky treasures flow ; 

With my heart, they'd all be thine, 
;- My brave Seann Ban Oge ! 

** -:>>» He'is prouder than a king, 

And he's generous as the rain 
That the kindly heaven of Spring 

Sheds in sun-tears on the plain ; 
Yet he's fiery, free, and wild, 

As the chainless desert-roe ; 
For Nature's Irish child 

Is my Seaan Ban Oge ! 



EILEEN OGE MACREE.J 

Air. — " Irish Molly." 

' May wore her crown of emerald, begemm'dwith flowers and dew 

And heaven look'd upon the scene, with smiles of sunny blue 

When by the Shannon's kingly tide, I wandered forth to see 

The honey of my bosom's love, sweet Eileen Oge Machree I 

* Red Hugh O'Donnell. t Morogh, son of King Brian; 

% Young Ellen of my heart. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 263 

How stately, how sweetly, how beautiful she looks ? 

Her cheeks are like bright lusmore-bells beside the sunny 

brooks ! 
And tho' no lordly court, nor hall nor golden dower has she, 
Yet rank and power would bow before sweet Eileen Oge 

Machree I 

Rank and wealth, and pride, and place, in peasant homes are 

not, 
But if you'd see a beauteous face, go to the peasant's cot — 
If you'd find virtue's virgin rose on beauty's vestal tree, 
Go to the humble Irish home of Eileen Oge Machree ! 
How stately, how sweetly, &c, &c. 

I'd climb Knocfeirna's fairy peak, where Donn is on his 

throne, 
I'd swim the Shannon's dashing tide, at midnight dark and 

lone ; 
O'er wild Camailte's wintry snow barefooted I would flee 
To gaze upon thy angel-brow, sweet Eileen Oge Machree ! 
How stately, how sweetly, &c. &c. 

Her face is beauty's palace, and her eyes have fairy power, 
She's holy as a seraph, and she's modest as a flower ; 
So sweet in look, so pure in heart, so rich in loveliness, 
Like one of heaven's bright daughters in an humble earthly 
dress ! 
How stately, how sweetly, &c. &c. 

As towards the grand and glorious sun the eagle lifts his wing, 
As rosy buds fly open at the vernal touch of Spring ; 
So quick my burning fancy wings its eager flight to thee, 
So opes my heart before thy charms, sweet Eileen Oge 
Machree ! 
How stately, how sweetly, &c. &c. 

To me thou art the gale that brings the rain to hill and bower, 
When Nature's mouth is thirsting for the dewy evening 

shower — 
I have two wishes in my heart— oh! would kind heaven 

decree, 
Poor Erin free, and you my own, sweet Eileen Oge Machree ! 
How stately, how sweetly, how beautiful she looks ? 
Her cheeks are like bright lusmorcbells beside the sunny 

brooks ; 
And tho' no lordly court, nor hall, nor golden dower has she, 
Yet rank and power would bow before sweet Eileen Oge 
Machree ! > % C i 



264 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE BEAUTIES OF PLASSY.* 
On the bright lawns of Plassy green April is glowing, 
By her grand woods the Shannon is gloriously flowing, 
And the young-budding leaves on the mossy boughs ring, 
With the golden-toned air-notes of sunny-eyed Spring : 
The spirit of love from the fountains of heaven, 
Light, beauty, and soul, to the landscape has given ; 
And the flowerets look up to the warm-smiling skies, 
With bright tears of sweet, silent thanks in their eyes. 
The sun-chorded breast of the river is spangled 
With wavelets, like masses of silver-chains tangled ; 
And the old trees, like warriors when battle is ended, 
Rejoice in their blue-aerial banquet-hall splendid: 
The floods sing the songs which their great Maker taught 

them, 
When first into motion and music He brought them ; 
And each vernal bud opens its balm-hearted chalice, 
To catch the air-pearls that drop from his Palace ! 

A day-flood of glory the mountains is shrouding — 

A star-host of flowers the gay meadows is crowding; 

And the fresh healthy breeze from the uplands comes winging, 

A Spring-hymn of love to the laughing fields singing. 

How brilliant's the scene — how resplendent above it, 

The clear heaven smiles, as if looking to love it ? 

While Nature, in rich, virgin emerald clad, 

With a soul-gush of melody praises her God ! 

The gay bees are seeking their banquet of honey, 

Where the flowers on the moss-banks smile silent and sunny ; 

And the fisher is out on the rocks of the shallow, 

Alluring the trout from its sandy beds yellow. 

The flood and the mill-wheel are tumbling together, 

Like two mighty giants at play with each other ; 

And the proud domes of wealth thro' the foliage-screens peep, 

With their lawns half in sunshine and shadow asleep. 

The corn-lands are barr'd with long, bright-verdant ridges, 

And the green- vested blossom-bells glow in the hedges ; 

The lark has flown up to yon white cloud-isles riven, 

tike a soul chanting joy on its bright way to heaven. 

The Falls in a war- dance of glory are springing, 

O'er the rocks, in white splendour, their broken might flinging } 

And the woods, round the shores, wear one sun-robe of beauty, 

From the Isles to the brown tide of wild Annacotty. 

Lo ! gray Castle-Troy, by war, tide and time batter'd,f 

Stands, like an old chief with his armour all shatter' d, 

* The country seat of the late Richard Bussell, Esq., one of the most 
enterprising merchants that Limerick ever saw. 

+ This once strong fortress, with its surrounding lands, belonged to the 
tribe of the MacKeoghs. It was severely battered by Cromwell's cannon, 
but after the last siege of Limerick, it was entirely dismantled and blown 
top* together with other castles which defended the passes to the city. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 265 

As if musing, in gloomy and gaunt desolation, 

On the red, feudal days when Green Eire was a Nation. 

There the warlike MacKeoghs, in their power, ruled and 

revell'd, 
And often in fight were their sounding spears levell'd 
'Till Cromwell the fiend, with his tower- cleaving cannon, 
Plough'd their strong Castle-walls on the brink of the Shannon. 

There once a young maiden, whose beauty was peerless, 
Was woo'd by a chieftain, rock-hearted and fearless ; 
But she shrank from his eyes that, impassion'd, were gazing 
On her brow, like a flower, when the noon-sun is blazing. 
Then the chief went away, while his jealous soul burn'd, 
And at night, with his clan, to the Castle return'd ; 
In her high chamber- window, MacKeogh's angel daughter 
Sat, marking the star-rays that jewelFd the water. 

The sentinels dozed on the airy-brow'd watch-tower, 
And the midnight gale swept thro' the echoing beech-bower ; 
And the robber's approach to the hall of the Castle, 
Was hid by the woods 'mid their hoarse, leafy rustle. 
Up the spiral stone-stairs rush'd the clan, with swords ready, 
And their chief, in her chamber, has seized the young lady ; 
Away, in his steel-sheathed arms, he brought her, 
But MacKeogh, springing up, heard the screams, of his 
daughter 

"To the rescue!" that cry thro' the fortress is ringing, 

And around him, like wolf-hounds, his clansmen are springing ; 

On the lawn are the midnight marauders confronted, 

Like foxes or deer from their hill-coverts hunted. 

With a yell, 'mid the w T ood's two-fold darkness, they battled, 

And the swords' iron echoes promiscuously rattled — 

MacKeogh has defeated the brigands, with slaughter, 

But a spear has been thrust thro' the breast of his daughter. 

There's a caoine for the dead, and sad eyes, wild and tearful, 
Gaze on that fair breast, with its wound gaping fearful ; 
While grim on the sward, where the knot-grass is woven, 
Lies the dark robber-chief, with his high forehead cloven. 
And oft were their pale spirits seen, when the grey light 
Of eve, fringed the green, golden skirts of the day-light ; 
And the night-faring fishermen long shall remember, 
The death-shrieks they heard in that old ruin'd chamber. 

Sweet Plassy of bright streams ! how lovely, when even 
Plants its star- jewels on the blue bosom of heaven, 
To stand 'mid thy shadowy glories, beholding 
The mist-robe of night thy wild grandeur enfolding ? 
While the Falls' deep-toned echoes are solemnly crooning, 
Like a concert of ghost-harps in harmony tuning ; 
And the groves, with their dew-circled diadems glistening, 
In silent delight, to the anthem seem listening ! 
18 



266 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Sweet Plassy ! my fond muse were proud of her duty, 
Could she weave in her wild song one beam of thy beauty ! 
But God did so brightly and richly array thee, 
'Tis an angel alone that could praise or portray thee ! 
Thou seem'st as if, on deep Shannon's green border, 
Nature's first glowing signet of beauty and order, 
Was set upon thee, when from chaos upborne, 
Earth roll'd in the beams of the first golden morn ! 



THE FAIRY HURLING MATCH. 

A LEGEND OF MUNGRET.* 

" Yes, I know he's still living ! he's haunting my dreams !" 

Said young Brideen Dhuv to the hag of the Dell ; 
" On the night of his wake the old Fort seem'd in flames, 

And the candles were quench' d, by whom no one could tell ! 
1 ' Sure there was not a tree in the woods of Tirvoe, 

So sturdy and straight as my comely Fineen ? 
But when he came sick from the meadow, I knew 

By his looks, he was struck by the dark Fairy Queen ! 
" The lightning was dead in the heaven of his eye, 

And his brow wore the gloom of the shadows that roll, 
At evening, between a churchyard and the sky, 

And his face had no beam from the sun of his soul ! 
" And as I sat weeping alone on the style 

That's between the old church and the little boreen, 
While his funeral passed into the grey, ruin'd aisle, 

I was call'd — 'twas his voice — he was near me unseen ! 
" And, oh ! if you can, by your knowledge or art, 

Tell me where my lost darling may happen to be, 
'Twill give comfort and peace to my poor, weeping heart, 

And here is a gift of bright silver for thee !" 

The Fairy -hag listen'd to Brideen's sad tale — 
Awhile she stood pausing, and made no reply, 

But moved to the door, and look'd round on the vale, 
Then turn'd on the maiden her dark-flashing eye. 

M This eve is the vigil !" she said, "of Saint John ! 

And if you have courage, I'll tell what you'll do ; 
When the shadowy star-cloak of midnight is on, 

Go. into yon field near the woods of Tirvoe ! 
"There wait by the hedge, with two briar-boughs cross'd 

O'er your head, and, believe me, you shall not wait long, 
When you'll see the dear youth whom you mourn as lost, 

At play in the midst of a numberless throng ! 

* " Mungret Abbey was built under the patronage of St. Patrick. When 
Brian Boru was making bis conciliatory tour through tbe kingdom, after 
rec«iying the orown of Tara, his first visit was paid to this Abbey, where he 
ltid«'#baty ounces of pure gold on the grand high altar."— Fqwr Meters' , 
Annan. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



267 



" For the task I'll embolden your nerve, with a charm, 
And when Fineen shall move near the spot where you'll 
stand ; 

At once — mind my words — grasp him well, by the arm, 
And hold this skein dhu* at his breast, in your hand ! 

" Mark well my instructions, or dearly you'll rue, 

Aye, even the single omission of one — 
Fear not — to yourself and your errand be true, 

Fail not — and your victory of love shall be won !" t 

The maid from her cheek brush'd the tear-dews away, 

And silently stole to her wood-shaded home, 
And pray'd, 'till the dim, purple pall of the day 

Lay over its lord in the sea's golden tomb. 

Night lighted her star-diamond-fires in the blue 

Empyrean fields where the Spirit of God 
Its burning thoughts into flame -worlds threw, 

'Till their blaze in a limitless universe glow'd. 

Midnight came, and the life-pulse of Nature seem'd hush'd, 
And each lone hill look'd black as a slumbering raven, 

As if their great souls to the planet-halls rush'd, 
To listen awhile to the music of heaven. 

Now Brideen, all trembling, began to repair 
To the airy field named by the hag of the dell, 

Who knew what the heart of the maiden could dare 
For the sake of the youth she loved wisely and well. 

She traversed the dark plain, and stayed at the hedge 
Where the boughs of the brier hung cross'd o'er her head ; • 

While the moon, in the east, show'd her thin crescent-edge, 
Like a pearl, stealing up from her gloomy sea-bed. 

The timid maid gazed, while her heart thrill' d with fears, . 

Round the field where the moon thro' the shadows look'd in ; 
As a pale, dying penitent looks, thro' her tears, -■ : 

On the gloomy record of a dark life of sin. 

* A black haf ted knife, believed to possess the power of breaking fairy' 
enchantments. 

t The last of those fairy sybils who pretended acquaintance with the mys- 
tical lore of the spirit world, was the far-famed Biddy Early of Kiftjarron, 
County Clare. She was a very wise woman, she buried four husbands and was 
buried herself a few years ago. The people held an emphatic belief in her 
power, and numberless are the stories told about the wonderful cures she 
performed. She was not a mercenary impostor, for she'd take nothing 
neither money nor value, from any person whom she could not serve, and rf 
the required service could be rendered she'd accept nothing but the merest 
trifle, never surpassing a shilling. Her patients.came to her, even from the 
remotest parts of the country, and none ever regretted a visit paid to " %oov 
honest Biddy !" as she was affectionately termed by all who knew.her.i- I 
once had an accidental opportunity of an interview with her. She predicted 
events in the far and near future of which I made private and special notes". 
I was entirely sceptical in all she had said,, yet in course of time I was 
astonished to experience the complete truth of her prophetic revelations. 



268 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

A sudden fog roll'd o'er the desolate field, 
And 'rose in cloud-towers, as if demons of air 

Descended from all their high places, to build 
A hall for the Monarch of darkness there. 

Then a murmur of sounds, intermingled and loud, 
Like echoes sepulchral, swell'd hollow and long ; 

As if the grey wings of that earth- walking cloud, 
Conceal'd, in debate, a wild, turbulent throng. 

Soon the dark fog uplifted its broad skirts again, 
Like the screen of a stage, and reveal' d to the maid, 

A numberless group of light figures, in green, 
On each side of the field, like an army array'd. 

Impatient, with "hurleys" held forward, they stood, 

And Brideen, with one keen, sweeping glance, view'd them all, 

But her heart gave a leap, like a fish from a flood, 
When they call'd upojr-Fineen to toss up the ball. 

At the name, her glad soul shot its arrows of light, 

From the stars of her eyes, thro' the midst of the band, 

Where she saw her beloved, in his vigour and might, 

Fling the ball towards the sky, like a bird from his hand. 

With upturn'd faces they eagerly gazed, 

Thro' the low-hanging cloud, where the flying ball went, 
And cheering aloud, with their hurleys upraised, 

To strike it, they rush'd, in its rapid descent. 

Down it came, and young Fineen, as rapid as light, 

With one bold, sweeping blow struck it off towards the South ; 

And it hiss'd thro' the throng, in its swift- winged flight, 
Like a#iot iron globe from a cannon's black mouth. 

Away went the hurlers — each flew, like a bird, 
Over hedges and dykes, in pursuit of the ball ; 

Not a grass-blade nor leaf in their light track was stirr'd, 
And the swift-footed Fineen was foremost of all. 

Towards the old church of Mungret the flying throng sped— 
Weird laughter, and cheering, and yelling arose ; 

While over the grass-circled homes of the dead 
Roll'd the ball, whirl'd on 'mid a torrent of blows. 

In and out thro' the grey Abbey-ruin they dash'd, 
Jostling and wrestling o'er crosses and stones ; 

Loud rang the dark tombs, while the strong hurleys clash'd, 
And drove into dust broken coffins and bones. 

pp bounded the ball on the old steeple's crest. 
And hid in its dark -tangled ivy-plume there ; 
\it as thick and as clamorous as crows round their nest 
IJp flew the wild throng, save Fineen, thro' the air. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 269 

With their hurleys they slash'd the dark ivy away, 
Tripp'd, jostled and tumbled each other about, 

'Till from the deep covert of leaves where it lay, 
Between rolling and tossing, they struck the ball out. 

Away to the ground went the tumult again, 
And off, towards the mist-shadow 'd woods of Tirvoe, 

Dash'd the crowd, like a storm-hunted wave, o'er the plain, 
While before thern the ball, like a chased raven, flew. 

Again they came sweeping and bounding amain, 

To the broad, yellow field near the dark-bosom'd wood 

And the ball, from the heart of the throng, was struck in 
Towards the bush where Brideen by the gloomy hedge stood. 

To the ditch rush'd the crowd, but Fineen was the first 
To raise on his hurley and strike up the ball ; 

On its path thro' the dim sky the Fairy throng burst, 
As if a mad whirlwind had lifted them all. 

Fineen on the field, gazing upward, remain'd, 

While the hurlers tumultuously roll'd thro' the air, 

And the maid look'd as if her life-pulses were chain'd 

Between wild fear and doubt, love and hope, and despair. 

Humbly signing the Cross — "Holy Saviour !" she cried, 
"Protect and restore him, this dark night, from harm !" 

Her spirit grew strong, and she sprang to his side, 
And grasp'd him, at once, by the stout, manly arm. 

Still unheeding he stood, gazing up thro' the air 

Where the noise of the hurling a moment was hush'd ; 

Then a roar, like the sound of the storm's voice there, 
Was heard — and around her the Fairy host rush'd. 

Quick as thought, from the robe of her bosom she drew, 
(While her grasp on Fineen was still firmer press'd) 

The spell-breaking blade of the dreaded skein dhu, 
Which she held in her right hand before the youth's breast. 

With horrible screamings the wrathful crowd reel'd 

From the wierd steel which gleam'd in the hand of the maid, 

But she trembled and sank, in a -swoon, on the field, 
And dropp'd from her faint grasp the magical blade. 

Like the wind's dismal sound in a churchyard, at night 
The Fairy-throng fled, with a wild, sullen roar ; 

And Fineen was gone — and the soul-guiding light 
Of reason returned to the maiden no more. 



270 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMONT). 

THE BARDS. 

Oh, for the Bards ! the glorious Bards ! the pride of the days 

of old, 
When the honour'd claim of a manly name was not founded 

on servile gold ; 
When the chiefs of our land, with chivalrous hand, gave Genius 

a regal crown, 
While the soulless knave to a nameless grave, like a grovelling 
worm went down ! 

When, with godlike might, 
Worth, fame, and right 
Were defended by steel-nerved men — 
God of the Free ! 
It was grand to see 
The pomp of our country then ! 

Here's to the Bards ! the brave old Bards ! who kindled the 

martial fire, 
In Chief and Prince, with the eloquence and magic of harp and 

lyre ; 
When the soul of the proud, like a lightning- cloud, flamed up 

at the thrill of Song, 
And leapt to the fight, with a fierce delight, to avenge 
unmanly wrong : 

For the brave Bards gave, 
Like a mountain-wave, 
A sweep to the warriof s brand, 
And fired him to show 
The mark of his blow, 
When a tyrant was in the land. 

The Norman Lords, with their valorous swords, to our Isle as 

Invaders came, 
But soon they grew to that land more true than the Irish in 

birth and name ; 
For our Island- Song, with a witchery strong, on their souls 

threw an Irish spell, 
And their brave hearts felt the fire of the Celt, and they show'd 
they lov'd Erin well. 

But gone are the Bards, 
And the Warrior Lords, 
The pride of the times of yore ; 
And a bloodless race 
Has taken their place, 
Where freemen are seen no more ! 

■•* (!>h ! splendid days when love and praise were the meed of the 
bold and true — , 

When hands were strong to resent a wrong, and traitors and 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 271 

When no hireling spy dared come to pry round the homes of 

the toiling poor, 
For our Princes ruled, with a rod of gold, in their people's love 
secure ; 

And the halls of the Peer 
Shook with roaring cheer, 
And the traveller was welcome in — 
God of the Brave ! 
It was grand to live 
In the Kingdom of Erin then ! 
Then here's to the Bards ! the proud old Bards ! that hurled our 

clans to fight, 
Like the headlong dash of a thunder-crash, 'gainst a foreign 

Invader's might ; 
When our chieftains broke from Henry's yoke, what sharpen'd 

their battle- swords 
To strike for their right, with courage and might ? — 'twas the 
songs of our brave old Bards — 
High souls of Song ! 
Stern foes of wrong ! 
Since perished your order grand, 
The lions are dead — 
The eagles have fled, 
And jackals have curst the land. 



THE BATTLE OF MONABRAHER, * 
a.*. 1510. 
The crimson crown £>f morn in the yellow orient shone, 
And a heaven-flood of f ulgence on the bright'ning earth was 

thrown ; 
The azure-breasted mountains laid their cloudy night-robes by, 
And the rivers danced in glory, with their sounding songs of joy. 

To Monabraher's marshy plain the stern Kildare advanced, 
And grandly, in the rising sun, his spear-ridged columns glanced ; 
Magnificent his cavalry — a living iron wave- 
Moved on, in grim and glittering pomp, with crested helm 
and glaive. 

There's vengeance in his raging soul, for Thomond's hostile 

King, 
And he has vow'd a dreadful scourge to Thomond's land to 

bring; 

* " A.D. 1510, the Lord Justice Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, raised a great 
army of English and Irish, and marched through Munster, taking spoils 
and capturing castles. After many uninterrupted successes, he marched 
into Thomond, to despoil the country, and take vengeance on Torlogh Donn 
O'Brien, for aiding Mac William against him, at the battle of Knocktow, 
fought on the 19th of August, 1504. O'Brien, MacNamara, and MacWilliam, 
with their several clans, met .him at Monabraher, where a" fierce encounter 
ensued, in which Kildare and his army were defeated, with heavy loss, and 
totally routed from the field."— Memoir of the O'Briens. 



272 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

For, since the furious battle-day of slaughter-dyed Knocktow,* 
A deadly hatred, fix'd and fierce, between the chieftains grew. 
And now to ravage Thomond's soil the wrathful Lord is come — 
A stormy gleam of vengeful joy lights up his eye of gloom, 
As on the fertile, sunny hills, with burning looks he gazed, 
Where white-fleeced flocks and lowing herds, in chequer'd 

numbers grazed. 
Is it a sudden sun-blaze which has burst on yonder height, 
As if the branches of the wood had turn'd to shafts of light ? 
As if the fern, and larchen groves that skirt the mountain-glen, 
Were all transformed to banners, spears, and ranks of warlike 

men? 

Lo ! 'tis Clanrickard and O'Brien, and MacNamara stern, 
With many a bearded gallowglass and yellow-skirted kern ; 
They march against thy host, Kildare !— The battle of Knocktow 
Was bloody, but to-day thou hast more bloody work to do ! 
Then spoke the bold O'Donnelrf to the proud Lord of Kildare, 
"To meet those Dalcas wolves of blood let every man prepare! 
For, by St. Columkille ! I think we'll hardly keep our ground, 
Except we pay them death for death, and more than wound 
for wound ! 

'Tis true we foiled them at Knocktow, yet 'twas a chance 

of war, 
But now, my Lord, we've come to beard the lion in his lair ! 
And here he's rushing on us, in his angry might and pride, 
So meet him bravely, steel to steel, and let our fate be tried !" 

Then, with a sullen, haughty scowl, the fierce Kildare replied, 
"Bear quick my order to the troops to lay their spoils aside ! 
Let Baron Kent and Barnewall command the left and right, 
Whilst in the front ourselves will bide the onslaught of the 
fight! 

Mac Carthy ! } draw the cavalry behind yon sedgy bank, 
And charge, with all thy headlong might, upon the Dalcas- 

flank ! 
For if thou can'st succeed to break their fiery steel-array, 
Then, by my soul, our spearmen brave shall give them bloody 
play!" 

Now thro' the waving host were heard the leaders' loud 

commands, 
And forming into battle-lines appear'd the serried bands ; 

* Knocktow signifies the Hill of Axes. It is in the County Galway, and 
takes its name from the destructive battle waged there in 1504, between 
the mixed armies of Normans and Irish on each side. 

+ O'Donnell, Prince of Tyrconnel, aided Lord Kildare in this expedition. 

$ " MacCarthy Reagh of Desmond, also joined the Lord Justice in his raid 
against the King of Thomond. Kildare' s army was heavily laden with the 
spoils of half the province, but all those rich spoils fell into the hands of the 
victors at Monabraher."— Annals of Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 273 

A dancing cloud of varying plumes above the columns spreads ' 
Like bending lines of burning trees, with smoke-wreaths on 
their heads. 

Near and more near the phalanx of the wrathful Dalgais drew, 
Loud and more loud their martial horns and battle -trumpets 

blew, 
'Till, just a bowshot from their foes, they gave one furious yell, 
And, with tempestuous madness, on the reeling squadrons fell. 

Tremendous as a deluge, thro' the centre ranks they burst, 
Like the fiery -pinion'd lightning on the storm's bosom nurst ; 
And backward, shatter' d and confused, the broken vanguard 

reePd, 
And seven brave knights of noble name lay bleeding on the 

field. 

But rallying, in his desperate might, Kildare maintains his 

ground, 
While fast as rain drops in a lake, his men are falling round, 
Shrill roar' d the deadly crash of steel, and loud above the clang 
Of reeking swords and biting spears, the ponderous axes rang. 

The crimson hurricane of war on all sides shifts and veers, 
And thro' the swaying cloud of death thick flew the greedy 

spears ; 
And, one by one, the columns sank, as if the quivering plain 
Devour'd them down, and slaked its thirst with draughts of 

bloody rain. 

Brave MacNamara, on the left, engaged fierce Baron Kent, 
And down the Baron and his troops, like sedge, before him 

went; 
But furious on Clan Cuilen's ranks MacCarthy's horsemen 

dash'd, 
And cleaving thro' the broken line their mighty axes flashed. 

Now backward, at their chief's command, the stern battalions 

swept, 
And closing up their sever'd files, their firm position kept, 
Then dashing on the cavalry, with their long pikes and spears, 
Headlong into a swampy marsh they charged the cavaliers. 

Down, to their glittering saddle-girths, the snorting horses sank, 
And copiously the reeking mire the riders' hearts' blood drank ; 
While round them, in their vengeance, yell'd the furious, fiery 

clan, 
Like tigers, in a desert-waste, around a caravan. 

With superhuman efforts, some their saddle-trees maintain' d, 
And spurring hard their madden'd steeds, the solid plain 

regain' d, 
Yet so disorder'd, and confused, and maim'd, were steeds and 

me, 
That on the awful battle-ground they never charged again. 



274 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

Now fearfully on Barnewall's right the battle-tempest roar'd, 
And on the centre, round Kildare, the crushing death-blows 

shower'd, 
Red-surging in one naming sea of fierce-contending arms, 
The grappling legions sway'd and raged, as mad as mountain- 

storms. 

The splinter'd spears and shatter'd swords in ringing frag- 
ments flew, 

The life-rain thickly gush'd and steam'd, and helms were cleft 
in two ; 

The ranks seem'd vanishing in earth, like waves, in wild career, 

That toss their surf -plumes to .the rocks, then sink and dis- 
appear. 

Full in the whirlpool of the fight stood Thomond's fiery King, 
Like the spirit of an earthquake throned within a blazing ring; 
And fierce his vengeance-flashing eye Kildare's proud Earl 

sought, 
Around the mart of blows and blood where fame and death 

were bought. 

Lo ! thro' the shifting war-haze, he has mark'd his regal crest, 
And forward, 'mid the storm of steel, the fiery Chieftain press'd, 
But ere he reach'd the haughty Lord, a wall of spears was raised 
Before his steps, and at his breast their bristling fire-points 
blazed. 

Raging with disappointed ire, the angry King withdrew, 
While on his broad steel-plated shield a hundred war-spears 

flew ; 
He raised his mighty battle-shout — the moorland-echoes peal'd, 
And even the wounded Dalgais leap'd, with vigour, from the 

field. 

As when the wintry ocean hears the whirlwind's trumpet 

sound, 
In a frantic, foaming war-dance all the white-brow' d billows 

bound ; 
Thus, at their King's inspiring shout, the clans of Thomond 

rush'd 
Upon the foe, and in the dust his iron ramparts crush'd. 

As lightning-fire runs flaming thro' a field of wither'd reeds, 
The spear-groves fell, and lofty chiefs were hurl'd from their 

steeds ; 
In broken piles lay swords and shields, and bleeding bodies 

gash'd, 
And gore-stain'd mail, and brazen casques, like brittle timber, 

smash'd. 

In front of his retreating host, with active skill and might, 
The stern, magnanimous Kildare prevents a general flight, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 275 

Majestic o'er the mingled wreck, the lordly chieftain seems 
Cool, as a lofty cliff of ice between two dashing streams. 

Clanrickard's men mow'd Barnewall's troops, like rye-grass, 

on the plain, 
Their leader, by MacWilliam's sword, in single fight, was slain;* 
And many a valiant lord, and knight, and cavalier bold and 

Upon that marshy field of death in gory starkness lay. 
Night drew her cloudy curtain o'er the crimson scene of fight, 
As if to hide the slaughter-mass from heaven's. indignant sight; 
The distant hills' blue foreheads lost their diadems of sun, 
And God's resplendent planet-host its shining march begun. 

Upon a reedy mound which flank'd the lordly Shannon's tide, 
O'Brien sate, and round him throng'd his warriors, in their pride ; 
With torn plumes, and broken shields, and blunted arms they 

stood, 
Like branchless, lightning- stricken pines, beside the darken'd 

flood. 
The tall Prince of Clan Cuilen stood anear the victor-King, 
His sword-hack 'd helmet, in the fray, had lost its eagle-wing ; 
A spear had pierced his noble breast and tore the reeking flesh, 
And redly down his silken robe the blood ran warm and fresh. 

"My Lords and Chiefs !" O'Brien cried, " Men of the Strong 

Right Hand ! 
Bright stars of chivalry, and flowers of Thomond's royal land ! 
The shame and dire disaster of Knocktow's dark, ill-starr'd 

fray,f 
In our defeated foemen's blood, have been washed out, to-day ! 

Then pitch our tents — refresh our troops — and, with to-mor- 
row's sun, 
We'll finish the destruction which to-day our swords begun! 
Tor if Kildare awaits the war until the morning's ray, 
I promise the foul Carnage-birds a larger share of prey ! 
Light signal fires of victory on every green old hill, 
And let our wounded clansmen prove the leech's care and skill! 
Send trusty scouts abroad to watch the movements of the foe — 
I'd risk my life and crown to give the wolf another blow !" 
The chiefs and clansmen raised a cheer that tore the dingy air, 
And to their camp-fires and their tents the parting troops 

repair ; 
Huge piles of oak and bog- wood flamed along the Shannon's side, 
And flung their lurid lines of light across the sounding tide. 

* Mac "William of Clanrickard was Torlogh O'Brien's uncle. The families 
were frequently intermarried. No wonder that brave warriors sprang from 
a union of these stormy tribes who scarcely believed in anything better than 
ncessant fighting. 

t + " The English had no secure influence in Ireland until after the battle of 
Knocktow. That victory established their power in the Island."-— Jf emoir 
of the O'Briens. 



276 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 

In wild Killeely's* haunted glade, Kildare a council held, 
The sullen chiefs, in whispering tones, their several thoughts 

reveal'd, 
And all agreed, at once, to make a swift and safe retreat, 
Ere morning would expose them to a worse and sterner fate. 

"For," said Kildare, "our troops are maim'd and filled with 

frigid fear, 
And certain ruin shall be ours, if daylight finds us here ! 
The Dalgais wrought destructive work— God's curse upon 

their clan ! 
And only night closed round us, they'd have slain us every 
man ! 

" Then let us go in heaven's name !" The broken host obeyed, 
And under midnight's shadowy veil a swift retreat they made: 
And ample was the spoil they left behind them on the plain, 
And never did they measure steel with Thomond's Chiefs again. 

THE DARK SUMMER, '79. 
Are the vials, seven, unseal'd in heaven ! — 

Dismal and strange is the light of day, 
As if Winter's gloom veil'd Summer's bloom 

To stay Nature's will and obstruct her way. 
Has some fiat divine sent this awful sign 

To warn the nations of wrath to come ? 
There's something drear in the sun's wild glare, 

And heaven is weeping and Nature's dumb ! 
Like a giant in pain, with a fever'd brain, 

The thunder groans 'mid the aerial gloom, 
And the lightnings gleam, like God's pen of flame 

When writing dark deeds in his Book of Doom. 
No genial morn smiles on the corn — 

No day without torrents and gloomy wind — 
Perish'd fields seem to cry for heat to the sky, # 

But the sky to their pleadings is deaf and blind. 
No kind beam warms the sodden farms — 

Vain is the labour of spades and ploughs ; 
No seeds doth spring and no birds doth sing, 

And the fruit is sick on the languid boughs. 
In bower and vale Nature's charms grow pale, 

Like a lovely young bride in consumption slow ; 

•Monabraher is a townlandinthe parish of Killeely, on the county Clare 
side of the Shannon, about a mile outside Limerick. See note, page 30. A 
road which was called the Causeway waa made through this plain by King 
Brian, early in the tenth century. 

t * ' Killeely was dissolved by Queen Elizabeth, together with Kilquan, Quin 
Abbey, and other churches, in 1583. Henceforth it became a common 
burial-ground, with the venerable ruins of St. Leila's Church standing in 
the midst of increasing graves. Leila signifies "Virgin Lily." She was the 
daughter of Seanna, one of the ancient princes of Thomond." — AnnaU of 
Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 277 

Thro' the sky's highway, like a funeral array, 
The dark clouds pass with the signs of woe. 

The mad flood fills all the breasts of the hills — 

The rivers have risen to drown the plain ; 
Squalls rave aloud, cloud climbs upon cloud, 

As if charged with the vengeance of Noah's rain. 
Drear morning's ray melts into drear day, 

In his sable robe still frowns the angry sun, 
Or gives a fierce stare, like a miser's despair 

When his store is robb'd and his gold is gone. 
The keen winds blow as if breathing snow, 

And day feels chill as the wintry moon ; 
May seems November, July December, 

And the blossoms of Spring were transferr'd to June. 
There is fear over all as if the great ball 

Of the earth from its axis were doom'd to fall, 
And again roll back to chaotic rack 

In the bosom of Night's eternal pall. 
Was this doom foretold by the Seer of old ? 

That spoke to the Angel of God sublime ! 
Who gave him to see, thro' eternity, 

Earth's death-records under the shades of Time. 
Does this omen strange forerun some change 

In the list of nations and fate of men ? 
Or do we gaze on the evil days 

Portray 'd by the mighty Evangel's pen ? 



CAROLINE MARY NIXON, 

The beautiful and beloved daughter of Archdeacon Goold, 

DIED MAY 10TH, 1875. 

Thou hast left us in the Spring-time, when the glory of the 

flowers, 
With their glistening rainbow-splendours, fill'd the sunny 

fields and bowers ; 
In the dewy-vernal radiance of the blossom-vested May, 
To Death's shadow, cold and gloomy, our sweet Mary pass'd 

away. 

As in spirit, I stand weeping o'er the place of thy repose, 
My soul beholds the vision of thy beauty, gentle rose ! 
With love's glowing richness warm, and exalted thought refined, 
Was thy bright ethereal form and thy nobly-moulded mind I 

Sure thy sweet face was like heaven when the April days are 
bright, 

And the bloom of earth is gushing into loveliness and light ; 

And thy voice, like fairy warbling of the hill-fount's virgin-tone, 

Telling, love-tales to the red flowers that surround its mountain- 
throne ) 



278 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Like the calm star's mystic splendour in the dreamy Autumn- 
sky, 

Was the spirit-beaming glory of thy soft, majestic eye, 

And the rich flood of thy tresses, round thy queenly angel- 
brow, 

Flowed resplendent, as a dark stream by a winding bank of 
snow ! 

Lovely Mary ! tho' thy beauty was the rarest earth could find, 
It was naught to the perfection of thy gentle-loving mind ; 
Tho' thy person was enchanting, and thy peerless manners 

warm, 
Yet thy love was heaven's language speaking through thy 

radiant form ! 

Thou wert bowed with early sorrow, and the Cross of pain was 

thine, 
Which thou'st carried, with true meekness, like thy patient 

Lord divine ; 
For thy soul was, like his angels, pure, intelligent and high, 
And thy rich, celestial beauty was made only for the sky! 

There is sadness round thy dwelling, for the beautiful who 

gave 
Life and sweetness to her household, lies in darkness of the 

grave; 
And the voice of joy is silent, for its brightness is all gone, 
Like the lonely bower of summer when the wintry gloom 

comes on. 

Can I b'lieve it ? can I b'lieve it, that so sweet a flower is dead? 
Can I b'lieve that such true loveliness has fill'd an earthy bed? 
Then away with all Earth's phantoms, Grandeur, Title, Wealth 

and Pride, 
They are airy rainbow-shadows, since our darling Mary died ! 



LAMENT FOR THE VENERABLE ARCHDEACON 
GOOLD. 

Who died in Bath, January 3lst, 1877. 

A gentleman ennobled by every generous Christian virtue, a landlord of 
exalted humane feelings. If the landlords of Ireland would only treat 
their tenantry with the kindness and consideration which he conferred 
on his, there would be no rack-renting, no eviction, no misery amongst 
the peasantry, and consequently no agrarian outrage. 

The wintry-eve began to fall 

Along the Shannon's angry tide ; 
The cold mist, like a mourning pall, 

Was gathering on the mountain side ; 
The dreary blast was whistling loud, 

As o'er the darkening surge it trod, 
And high in heaven, each black-fringed cloud 

Look d awful as the frown of God. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 279 

Among the leafless trees I stood, 

Sad gazing on the bleakness 'round, 
While to my ear the mighty flood 

Bore some deep sorrow in its sound — 
A friend approach'd me, up the way, 

And he, with pensive accents, said, 
" There's gloomy news for us, to day — 

The good Archdeacon Goold is dead !" 

As one who feels a mortal wound, 

My heart received the tale of woe ; 
I bow'd my sad face towards the ground, 

And streams of grief began to flow. 
" Oh, God of Life !" with wild regret, 

I cried aloud, " Why dost Thou give 
The good so short a date, while yet 

The worthless and the wicked live ?" 

Loved benefactor of my lyre — 

Alas ! no more thou'lt hear me sing — 
The fate which quenched thy noble fire, 

Has broken my wild harp's sweetest string ! 
In silence shall my soul bemoan 

The generous patron of my song ; 
Like some sad wounded bird alqne, 

The wintry desert-boughs among ! 

All godlike virtues in thy soul 

Had traced their course in one grand line ; 
Like springs that from the hill-tops roll, 

In one majestic tide to shine — 
Humanity's ennobling power 

Had form'd its temple in thy heart, 
As dwells the odour in the flower, 

Untutor'd and untouch'd by art ! 

If gratitude still lives on earth, 

What grateful tears must fall for thee ? 
Thy honest truth and generous worth, 

Among mankind, 'tis rare to see ! 
Tho' many a cross was mine to bear, 

And many a grievous loss I knew ; 
But now the most intense, severe, 

Of all my griefs— is losing you ! 

The rich and great may lie in state, 

With mourning's pomp around them spread ; 
Their life is but a glittering cheat, 

And mourning mocks them when they're dead. 
But thou to heavenly worth so dear, 

Thus unlamented shalt not go ! 
A loving tear dropp'd on thy bier, 

Is more than all the great can show ! 



280 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Thy heart was honour's gem of light 

Where love for God and mankind shone ; 
Thy mind nobility's centre bright, 

Where kindness fixed its chosen throne ; 
Tho' now thou'rt laid in cold decay, 

Consign'd to darkness, dust, and worms, 
There's more true worth in thy dead clay 

Than in a thousand living forms ! 

If in those beauteous mystic spheres 

Beyond this doleful world of care, 
God wipes away the spirit's tears, 

You're with your own sweet Mary* there- 
But, many a lonely friendless hour, 

Thy peerless loss shall I bewail ; 
Grief is the only balm to pour 

Into the wound I cannot heal! 



ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE VENERABLE 

ARCHDEACON GOOLD, 

{January 31s£, 1878.) 

This Lament is most respectfully and sorrowfully dedicated to his kind- 
hearted, faithful, and bereaved Lady, Mrs. Goold, as a sincere tribute of 
gratitude and love paid his endeared memory, by the Bard of Thomond. 

Again the woeful day appears — 

The dark-faced day — which saw my friend, 
In the full pride of reverend years, 

And honour'd worth, draw near his end : 
Oh, were my heart one large hot tear 

Thy life's rich fountain to supply, 
And hold on earth a gem so dear, 

My kind one, you should never die ! 

'Tis Christmas, and the holly bough 

Is glistening in my little room ; 
Small is my care for Christmas now, 

Because it brings me grief and gloom. 
The generous present from his hand 

Shall I receive ? Ah, never more ! 
While all seem happy round the land, 

My lonely heart is sad and sore ! 

I hate all intercourse with men, 

Their forms are dark and void to me ; 

For well I know that ne'er again, 
Among their race, his like I'll see ! 

* Alluding to his beautiful daughter, Caroline Mary, who died on 10th 
Of May, 1875. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 281 

But I am here, and he is gone 
From this blank scene of sin and shame, 

And all remains to me, alone, 
Is but his dearly-cherished name. 

I mark the solitary gloom 

That deepens o'er the evening sky — 
Its shades remind me of the tomb 

Where his beloved ashes lie : 
I weep to see yon envious cloud 

Across the twilight beam extend, 
For it reminds me of the shroud 

That wraps my once bright-hearted Friend! 

A white star glimmers in the East ; 

I know its pensive brow of light, 
Itjweeps above his dreamless rest, 

Far in the lovely Isle of Wight — 
Thou beauteous and mysterious star ! 

Like me, thou seem'st to mourn alone ! 
Oh, tell me, glorious orb ! how far 

Beyond thee has his spirit gone ? 

From heaven's blue, silent solitude, 

Methought it was thy voice replied, 
But, no, it was the naked wood, 

Complaining to the wintry tide ; 
It was the sullen western wind, 

That stripp'd the boughs of their last leaf, 
And, with its drear-y dirge, combined 

To swell my bosom's song of grief ! 

Kindred companionship for me 

Have all things drear and desolate ; 
In fallen leaf and faded tree, 

I read the scripture of my fate ! 
I wish I we're the mountain-wind, 

In desert places to complain, 
'Twould suit my wildly-sorrowing mind, 

And gloomy pictures of my brain ! 
In acts of mercy, all your days, 

Even, like the Saviour, did you spend, 
Your bounty flow'd a thousand ways, 

To all God's poor you were a friend! 
Your loss has cast a wintry cloud 

O'er many a heart you fill'd with joy ; 
It is the selfish and the proud, 

Not you, darling, that should die ! 

To your beloved memory 

I'll never — never bid adieu ! 
For you were always kind to me — 

I had no friend on earth but you! 
19 



282 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Accept this sad song, with a tear, 
'Tis all my fond heart has to give, 

And while one throb of life is there, 
Deep in its centre you shall live ! 



THE DOOM OF BRIAN ROE. 

A LEGEND OF BUNRATTY. 

The woods of Bunratty are clothed with snow, 
And cold, round the Castle, the winter- winds blow ; 
The river in gleaming ice-armour is bound, 
And the marsh-reeds with bright silver tassels are crowa'd 
The hills, with the deep drifted splendour, are gemm'd, 
But their brows with a low-hanging cloud-veil are dimm'd 
For the Polar snow-spirit is there in the cloud, 
Repairing the sun- wasted skirts of his shroud. 

The shadows of night round the proud Castle grew, 
And shrilly the north-blast its ice-whistle blew, 
At the dungeon-tower window the Earl's son stands, 
With strong iron chains on his feet and his hands, 
A prisoner of war since the grim battle-day, * 
When red slaughter-piles round the Castle-walls lay ; 
When the stormy O'Briens mow'd each other, like hay, 
For the blood-circled throne of their turbulent sway. 

The captive-chief gazed thro' the drift-darkened air, 
Round the plains where the snow-sheets lay dusky and drear 
While his thoughts, in a transient dream, wander'd away, 
O'er the wild Connaught-hills, to the towers of Loch Rea. 
But a screech-owl flew past, with a desolate scream, 
Dispelling the gossamer-web of his dream ; 
And he look'd at the strong dungeon-walls with a sigh, 
And a death-spear of flame seem'd to leap from his eye. 

The old rusty bell of the abbey toll'd one, 
And the Lord of the Castle to slumber is gone ; 
The noise of the wassailers has died in the hall, 
For the potent wine-god has o'ermaster'd them all ; 
Every chamber is still — not a step, voice, or sound — 
Save the freezing wind whistling the casements around, 
Reach'd the lone captive's ear, in his cold prison-cell, 
But the scream of the bird and the tone of the bell. 

* "A.I). 1310. Dermod O'Brien, aided "by De Clare, advanced against 
Donogh, who was joined by the De Burghs, ard a battle was fought under 
the walls of Bunratty, in which six hundred Galloglasses of Donogh's army 
were slain, and "William De Burgo, son of the Earl of Ulster, taken prisoner. 
This victory was followed up by an attack on the palace of Clonroad, the 
residence of the defeated Prince, which was plundered and burned to the 
ground." — Memoir of the O'Briens. See a description of the Battla of Bun- 
ratty in this volume. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 283 

Who whispers his name on the lawn underneath, 

Where the snow lies as white as the shroud-robe of death? 

He bends his ear close to the cold window stone, 

In the pause of the blast, to distinguish the tone — 

'Tis repeated again, more distinctly and true, 

And he casts thro' the depth of the night-shade his view 

To the white frozen plain — while his motionless eyes 

Seem, like rock-crystals, frigid, and fixed with surprize. 

For he saw, by a blue light that flicker'd below, 

A black oaken coffin recline on the snow, 

And around it a group of gaunt skeleton-forms — 

With half -moulder 'd shrouds hanging loose on their arms — 

Stood in serious debate, while each one of the band 

Held a green meteor-torch, o'er the bier, in his hand, 

And the dull icy glare of their eyes, thro' the gloom, 

Seem'd like dim moonlight rain-drops asleep on a tomb. 

Their shadowy robes half conceai'd their gaunt bones, 
And their pallid lips whisper'd low mystical tones ; 
But their garments seem'd woven of substance so light, 
Like cobwebs, they flow'd on the blast of the night ; 
Thro' the darkness their features a weird palor shed, 
Like the gray stains of time on the stone of the dead ; 
And each wore a sword half corroded with rust, 
As if it lay buried for ages in dust. 

But one Spectre, who look'd as the Chief of the band, 
O'er the black coffin motion'd his skeleton-hand ; 
And the pall was removed, and the dark lid upraised, 
And all on the gloomy corpse mournfully gazed — 
Then he, who was Chief, to the dead cried aloud, 
"Arise, mouldering clay, from tlry murder-stain'd shroud ! 
And hear me pronounce, to thy worm-eaten face, 
The doom of thy foes, and thyself, and thy race !" 

At these words, a grim meteor-eyed raven drew near, 
As dark as a hell-cloud, and perch'd on the bier, 
While the groaning corpse slowly uplifted its head, 
And sat, trembling, erect in its cold coffin-bed ; 
The limbs from the trunk by the bare sinews hung, 
And each bone from its joint was distorted and wrung ; 
The body was sunder'd, all fearful to view, 
As if wild beasts had dragg'd it and torn it in two. 

"Brian Roe,* King of Thomond !" the Spectre-Chief said, 
" There's a curse on thy deeds and there's blood on thy head ! 

* A. D. 1267. Brian Roe, King of Thomond, was deposed by the O'Deas 
and MacNamaras, and Torloghhis nephew, who was the rightful claimant, 
placed on the throne in his stead. Brian immediately solicited the aid of 
Thomas de Clare, a young Norman adventurer, who was after landing in 
Cork, with a stroug band of followers De Clare promised the required 



284 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 

Thy steed-torn, mangled, and shatter'd remains, 
Attest how the Norman rewarded thy pains ! 
By the sword thou hast fashion'd the fetters of slaves, 
And the sword shall pursue all thy sons to their graves, 
For thy hand with the blood of thy kindred was dyed, 
And that blood on yon war-pile shall never be dried ! — 

Shall never be dried while the name of De Clare 

Is written in slaughter and perfidy there ! 

But vengeance shall come, like a tempest of flame, 

And sweep from that Castle his race and his name ! 

And its gore-reeking towers shall relate to all time, 

A soul-awing story of treason and crime ; 

Yet its murder-stain'd chambers a stranger shall own, 

When there's no king in Thomond to sit on a throne ! 

By thy hand which has reap'd the red fruit of thy deeds! 

By thy shatter'd limbs tortured and torn by steeds ! 

By the black devastation the stranger has spread 

Round the doom-clouded land, white with bones of the dead ! 

This Raven, thy Spirit, 'mid storms and showers, 

Shall stand on the crest of yon heaven-curst towers, 

'Till Thomond's last conflict for kingship be o'er, 

And her sceptre be wielded by princes no more !" 

Then the grim Raven groan'd, like a demon in pain, 
And soar'd, to the towers, o'er the snow-covered plain ; 
The night seemed to gather its clouds on his track, 
'Till the white face of winter with horror grew black — 
The dreary corpse sank to its mouldering repose, 
While o'er it the lid and the gloomy pall rose ; 
And the dread spectral-figures grew dim, one by one, 
'Till the group, and the coffin, and death-lights were gone. 

The Earl's son knelt at the window, in prayer, 
While, like reeds in the frost, stood the locks of his hair ; 
He heard not the bolts of his strong prison-door 
Drawn back, nor the light foot that moved on the floor, 

assistance to reinstate Brian in the sovereignty of Thomond, and Brian, in 
consideration thereof, by a solemn deed conveyed to the Norman chief and 
his heirs for ever the "barony of Lower Bunratty. De Clare at once pro- 
ceeded into Thomond, and to secure his new possessions, "built Bunratty 
Castle, a. d. 1268. Torlogh being in turn deposed, through the interference 
of De Clare, applied to his friends, the Connaught chieftains, who collected 
their forces at his call, and gave Brian Roe and his Norman allies battle and 
defeated them. On the arrival of the vanquished leaders at Bunratty, the 
•wife and father-in-law of De Clare, incensed at the loss they had sustained, 
laid the blame on Brian, and insisted on putting him to death, "And so," 
say the annalists, "after they swearing all the oaths in Munster, as bells 
relics of saints and croisers, to be true to each other for ever, also after they 
became sworn gossips, and for confirmation of their indissoluble bond of 
perpetual friendship, they drew part of the blood of each other which they 
put in a vessel and mingled it together ; yet after all these solemn protes- 
tations they seized Brian Roe and bound him to stern steeds and thereby had 
him torn asunder." — Memoir of the 'Briens. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 285 

'Till a touch on his shoulder — a breath on his ear — 
Assured him some pitying mortal was near ; 
He turn'd, and before him, imperiously there 
Stood the queen of the Castle, proud Lady De Clare.* 

' Lord William De Burgo !" the lady begun, 
" Thy fate is assign'd and thy sentence is done ! 
But I came here, in darkness and danger to save 
Thy neck from the rope, and thy youth from the grave ! 
I saw, in a dream, Spirits standing in snow, 
Round the coffin and corpse of the murder'd Brian Roe ; 
They told me to save thee — with fear, I obey, 
Haste — our lives are at stake on the slightest delay I" 

His limbs from the brown iron fetters she freed — 
From the horrible dungeon they hastened, with speed ; 
Thro' the dread Castle arches they glided, like ghosts, 
While the drunken guards lay fast asleep at their posts. 
To the courtyard they passed thro' a stone corridor, 
And the brave captive felt a glad freeman once more ; 
Tho' the night was dark, desolate, dreary, and dim, 
'Twas as bright as the hour of salvation to him. 

Chill shiver'd the woods, and the sky overhead 
Look'd dismal and drear as the face of the dead ; 
And the north star's cold, wintry shimmer fell weak 
On the lady's pale robe and her marble-white cheek. 
Like some beautiful Spirit, half darkness and light, 
She stood 'mid the deep raven-foldings of night ; 
But a stern blaze of soul in her dignified glance, 
Shot keen from her eye, like a fire-flashing lance. 

With stolen side-glances the warrior scann'd 

Her bosom, and brow, her slight foot and white hand, 

While his thoughts to each other admiringly cried — 

" She was moulded and made for a war-victor's bride !" 

But she, as if reading the scroll which the pen 

Of his mental reflection was writing within, 

Waved her hand towards the fosse, and said proudly, "Young 

Chief! F " 

O'er yon deep, frozen moat thy sure passage is safe l" 

He seized her pale hand — press'd his lips to its snow, 
And murmurd his thanks ere he turned to go ; 
Then wrapping his cochal his person around, 
O'er the courtyard enclosure he flew, with a bound. 

* This stern lady was Juliana Fitzgerald, daughter to the Earl of Desmond. 
It was- she that instigated the sentence by which her sworn gossip, Brian 
Roe, met so barbarous a death. Another poem in this volume gives a lull 
description of the circumstances of his brutal execution. 



286 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Hoarse-crackled the ice of the moat to his tread, 
And off thro' the awful snow-desert he sped ; 
'Till the flame-circled sun of mid-heaven, next day, 
Saw him greeted by friends in the towers of Loch ReaJ 



THE PATRIOT MAIDEN. 

An Irish girl in heart and soul ! 

I love the dear old land ! 
I honour those who in her cause 

Lift voice, or pen, or hand — 
And may I live to see her free 

From foreign lord and knave ! 
But heaven forbid I'd ever be 

The mother of a slave ! 

God bless the men who take their stand 

In Ireland's patriot-host ! 
I'd give the youth my heart and hand, 

Who serves his country most ; 
And if he fell, I'd rather lie 

Beside him in the grave, 
Than wed a wealthy loon, and be 

The mother of a slave ! 

Thro' many a blood-red age of woe 

Our Nation's heart has bled , 
But still she makes her tyrants know 

Her spirit is not dead ! 
God bless the men who for her sake 

Their life and genius gave — 
God bless the mothers of those sons ! 

They nurst no dastard slave ! 

Some on the scaffold-place of doom, 

For loving Ireland died, 
And others to the dungeon-gloom, 

Are torn from our side ; 
But God the Just, who ne'er design'd 

His image for a slave, 
Will give our country might and mind, 

And raise the true and brave ! 

Ye beauteous daughters of our Isle, 
Whom heaven with virtue blest ! 

How can you on a helot smile, 
Or clasp him to your breast ? 

+ The castle of Loch Ilea was one of the seats of the powerful family of 
the De Burgos. Those brave descendants of William FitzAdelm were 
another of the Norman tribes that became more Irish than the Irish them- 
wlyefl. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 287 

i 

If you would teach those lessons grand 

The Spartan mothers gave, 
No tyrant-brood would curse the land, 

And you would nurse no slave ! 

The sun is sinking to the sea — 

God bless the glorious West, 
Where exiled Irishmen are free, 

And no one is oppress' d ! 
Come, sisters, toast that land, with me, 

Beyond the world of waves ! 
The golden land of liberty, 

Where mothers nurse no slaves ! 



TIPPERARY, MY HOME. 

Air. — " Ca?°olan , s Farewell to Killarney." 

Oh ! there is not a spot in the land of the Gael, 

Where my young heart the full swing of pleasure could feel — 

Oh ! there is not a place under heaven's crystal dome, 

So sweet to my soul as Tipperary, my home ! 

Tipperary ! Tipperary ! though lovely thou art — 
Tho' thy beauty in sunshine is set in my heart — 
Ear away from thy vales the wide world must I roam, 
But I'll never forget thee, Tipperary, my home ! 

Tho' my cabin was poor, my affection was there, 
Eor 'twas dearer ten times than a palace elsewhere, 
But the agent unroof 'd its four bare walls of clay, 
And turned me, a sad, homeless outcast, away ! 

Oh ! sweet was the dream of my young boyhood's hours, 
When the summer-fields round me were radiant with flowers, 
And little I thought that, in manhood's first bloom, 
I should wander, in grief, from Tipperary, my home ! 

The dear ones that loved me are laid in the earth, 
Still I meet them, in dreams, at my old cottage-hearth ! 
And round me each face bright with kindness appears, 
'Till I wake, with my dreaming heart melted to tears ! 

Accurst be the dark fate that bade me depart, 
From the friends of my love and the land of my heart ! 
But oft shall my memory in sweet visions come, 
On the wings of delight, to Tipperary, my home ! 

There the spirit of Freedom still lives undefiled, 
'Mid the valleys so green, and the mountains so wild ; 
And the chain of the spoiler has never found room 
On the necks of thy brave sons, Tipperary, my home ! 



288 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

May the bright soul of love in thy homesteads find rest 
And thy hot blood of valour long burn in thy breast ! 
May beauty, in all her young sweetness and bloom, 
With her angel-smile bless thee, Tipperary, my home ! 

Adieu ! to thy wild hills all clothed in green, 

And the vales where the steps of my childhood have been! 

God ! grant my prayer, ere I sink to the tomb, 

Let me breathe my last sigh in Tipperary, my home ! 



SARSFIELD'S FAREWELL TO LIMERICK. 

City of battles ! like a war-king's bride, 

Seated majestic on thine island- throne ! 
Smiling in beauty, with the crystal tide 

Sparkling around thee, like a diamond-zone ! 
The cloud of fight has vanished from thy brow — 

Low is the spirit of thy glory laid — 
And, with a weeping soul, I leave thee now, 

Disarm'd, deceiv'd, abandon'd, and betray'd ! 

For thee we battled more like gods than men — 

In vain the foemen's burning metal flamed — 
Amid the crash of falling towers, and din 

Of charging hosts, thy spirit was untamed ! 
Back from thy ramparts roll'd the baffled bands, 

Powerless and broken as a rock-cleft wave ; 
Yet a few words resign'd into their hands 

What all their armies never could achieve ! 

Thy star is quench'd in perfidy and blood- 
Vainly for thee has valour bled and died ; 

When thy brave sons and glorious daughters stood, 
Fearless as towers of iron, at thy side ! 

'Till the tired foemen, sick of bloody toil, 
Fawn'd when their fury could no more destroy, 

And, with the tempting serpent's treacherous guile, 
They enter'd, as the Grecians enter'd Troy ! 

Farewell ! to thy old hospitable halls, 

And veteran ramparts now no longer ours ! 
Farewell to thy invulnerable walls — 

Thy festive palaces and lordly towers ! 
Farewell ! to thy all-beauteous, bright-eyed maids, 

Whose deeds shall long be honour 'd and admired— 
The stranger now may revel in thy shades, 

Where Freedom, in her last retreat, expired ! 

Far o'er the heavings 0/ the angry deep, 
I'll meet thy foes upon another shore ! 

My sword shall yet a vengeful harvest reap, 
For Sarsfield's last brave battle is not o'er ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 289 

Limerick ! one grateful boon from thee I claim — 
Whatever fate holds bright or dark for me — 

That thgu wilt cherish faithful Sarsfield's name, 
And love his memory as he loved thee ! 



THE WARRIOR-EXILES. 

A LEGEND OF THE CLAN MACLNNERNY.* 

Lord Clare to the battles of France has departed, 
And Thomond of half her brave youth is deserted , 
For the " Flight of the Wild Geese " the heroes have join'd, 
And mothers and maids are left weeping behind. 
But of all the bold soldiers who follow'd Lord Clare, 
The fiercest the stoutest, and hardiest were 
Twenty tall youths — eagle-nerved, lion-framed — 
Of the Clan Maclnnerny, long honour'd and famed. 

Their freedom was quench'd — their possessions were gone, 
But their necks were too proud for a chain to rest on ; 
So each freeborn warrior grasp'd his good sword, 
And join'd the Dragoons of the Dalcassian lord — 
And sorely they made the grim Sassenach feel 
The fire of their wrath and the strength of their steel, 
For wherever the battle was led by Lord Clare, 
The brave Maclnnernys wrought fierce havoc there. 

At Vittoria their swords thro' the cavalry slash'd — 
At Cassano their might thro' the infantry dash'd — 
At Luzzara their actions with glory were crown'd — 
At Hochstat and Spires their names were renown'd — 
Ever first in the mad charge and last in retreat, 
With the sheen of their laurels unstained by defeat ; 
Oh ! ne'er did the flame of their valour cool down, 
At breaking an army or taking a town. 

On the red plain of Ramillies the Frenchmen gave way, 
But Clare's brave Dragoons kept their granite-array, 
And blazed on the terrified Sassenach lines, 
Like a lava-flood rolling thro' forests of pines ; 
Thro' the van of the conquering allies they burst, 
And the men of the Clan Maclnnerny were first ; 
'Mid a whirlwind of swords and a fire-shower of shot, 
Surrounded, assaulted by thousands, they fought. 

• Mohane Castle was built, in 1610, by Donogh Maclnnerny, one of the 
chiefs of this once warlike branch of the Dalgais. It stands on the Dro- 
moland Estate, and is yet nearly entire, being well protected and kept 
in repair by Lord Inchiquin. 

A great number of this clan followed the fortunes of Lord Clare to the 
continental battles of France, and never returned. 



290 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The tall banner'd columns were shaken and rent, 

Like rustling wheat-ridges by sudden gales bent ; 

Still onward they clove their dread way thro' the bands, 

Till their broad swords seem'd melted to blood in their 

hands — 
The war-flood closed in, like a tide round a stone — 
Cut off from their comrades they struggled alone ; 
Back to back, 'mid that death-blazing furnace of gore, 
They battled with legions, behind and before. 

And ramparted round was the spot where they stood, 
With a tower of dead bodies cemented with blood ; 
While, like ships to the throat of a black maelstrom hurl'd, 
New victims are into that carnage-gulf whirl'd. 
Their war-steeds are wounded, mad-plunging they fall, 
'Mid the blood-wave, and flame-flash of sabre and ball ; 
And the twenty bold men in the death-circle stand, 
Like tigers in fight, each opposed to a band. 

With cool desperation their fate they endure, 

Retreat is all hopeless — destruction is sure ; 

And each seems resolved, ere his life-current goes, 

To build him a tomb of the corpses of foes. 

But the tempest must tire in its wood-tearing flight, 

And the raging waves faint in their rock-beating might ; 

And the wrath of a fire, that a city devour'd, 

Must sink gasping, at last, 'mid the ruins, o'erpower'd. 

Thus sank in the slaughter- surge, man after man, 

Of the noble, magnanimous, time-honour'd clan, * 

That for ages, in Thomond, high lordly sway held, 

And gave saints to the Church and brave chiefs to the field — 

Tho' their souls seem'd to go and return in their breath, 

They struggled to strike, in the gaspings of death ; 

And each man fell — still clutching the hilt of his blade — 

On the red carnage-pile which his vengeance had made. 

One hero alone of the twenty survives — 

And, as heaven's fire-bolt thro' a winter-wood drives — 

He tore from the grasp of the enemy's r^and 

The ensign of glory, and dash'd thro' the band. 

Like fern in the track of the fleet-footed roe, 

Spears, bayonets, and sabres he flung to and fro, 

As he burst from the wave of that gore -streaming gulf, 

With the spring of a bloodhound and fang of a wolf. 

" The Clan-an-Oirchinneagh (MacTnnernys) were once powerful and 
independent in Thomond. According to tradition, their progenitor was 
Guardian or Protecting Chief to one of the ancient Kings of Ireland, and 
was presented by the monarch with a suit of golden armour as a mark of 
honour and distinction paid to his valour."— Mr. O'Looney's MS. Traditions 
of the Clan-an-Oirchinneugh. 

All Lord Clare's vast property in Thomond, amounting to sixty 
thousand acres, was confiscated. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 291 

To the line of his comrades the warrior retired, 

Threw the banner before him — dropp'd down and expired; 

For his spirit out-grew its dominion of clay, 

And burst in the strength of its frenzy away. 

As the fire-mountain heaves the red angel of flame, 

In a cloud-scorching gush, from its volcanic frame, 

So that soul from its toil-shatter'd prison took wing, 

To the source of its life, with a lightning-like spring. 

Say, Muse, w r hat sweet harp gave their glory a name, 
And, with song, lent a soul to the deeds of their fame ? 
'Twas the harp of MacCurtin, the bard of the free, 
And the fire of his spirit descended to me ! 
He had heroes to listen — alas ! I have none, 
But the green, silent woods and the wild hills alone, 
While my soul, with the sickness of grief round her cast, 
From the Present flies back to seek health in the Past ! 



LAMENT OF THE SHANNON. 

On Shannon's misty moonlight banks, 

I wander'd, one calm night, alone ; — 
The waves in council seem'd to speak 

About a storm that late had blown 
The foamy silver from their crests, 

Round morass-sedge and reedy drain ; 
And each seem'd calling to the shore 

To give it back its plume again. 

Sad as a suffering Spirit's moan, 

The low wind sigh'd among the reeds — 
The shadows of the passing clouds 

Sail'd o'er the marsh, like phantom-steeds, 
When striding towards the moonlit strand, 

From the blue centre of the stream, 
A giant-shape, dark, grim and grand, 

Silent and sage, before me came ! 

Adown his azure shoulders flow'd 

A sea-robe, woven of oozy weeds ; 
Dank water-moss hung round his brow, 

Which look'd all rough with shelly seeds ; 
His eyes were like two melting pearls, 

Or silver balls in wells of flame,. 
And his blue, solemn, dreary face 

Was like a sleeping midnight-stream. 

" My son " he said, " be not afraid, 

I am the Genius of this tide ! 
And often, on my summer-banks, 

I heard thy swelling strains, with pride ! 



292 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Now from my weedy palace-caves 

I came to tell a tale of wrong , 
And thou shalt hear it in thy soul, 

And breathe it into burning song ! 

" Since first my mountain-born waves 

Their shining ocean-march began 
Thro' this misfortune-darken'd land, 

That's blest by God, but curst by man — 
Many a black and bitter age 

Of shame, and blood, and grief, I saw, 
In Erin of the saints and kings, 

Where wrong is justified by law ! 

" A part of his Almighty power, 

To profit man, God lent my tide ; 
And here, along my winding shore 

Millions of souls might be employ'd ! 
From year to year my mighty flood 

To ocean's caves is idly hurl'd, 
Whose strength w^ould give an active soul 

To the trade-engines of the world ! 
" The sordid few whose barren gold, 

Could thus a nation's hands employ, 
Like greedy otters watch, and war, 

About my fish and timid fry ! 
The cormorants that haunt my flood, 

Are less voracious for their prey, 
Than those insatiate human-sharks 

That watch my current, night and day ! 
* From court to court my name is dragg'd, 

As if I were a felon base ; 
My strands survey' d — my bounds explored — 

With spies around in every place ! 
Would ! that the burning beam of heaven 

Had scorch'd my shores and drunk my waves, 
Ere I had fallen in the hands 

Of such remorseless, legal knaves ! 

* ' God stored my stream with finny wealth, 

And boundless is his bounty there — 
From year to year 'tis well supplied, 

For all his poor to have a share ! 
But proud monopolists now claim, 

And covet this great public right, 
And use a ruthless robber-law 

To sanctify their lawless might ! 

* ' My curdy salmon, trout, and peal, 
These human otters grasp them all, 

While, with their prying eyes of cranes, 
Their flunkies watch from Fall to Fall ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 293 

And yonder live their water-hounds — 
With monster fish-traps at their door — 

Wretches who fatten on the wrongs, 
And persecutions of God's poor ! 

" No fisherman dares throw a line, 

For sport or profit, in my stream, 
Else hard imprisonment or fine 

Would follow fast his angling game. 
And even thou, my favourite bard ! — 

That sang the glories of my tide : 
With rod in hand, and cheerful lay — 

I miss thee from my flowery side ! 

And must those men, of worthless name, 

Dominion o'er my waters claim, 
And revel on the finny spoils 

They gather from my plunder'd stream ? 
With countless thousands, pile on pile, 

Their selfish souls were not content, 
Until they grasp' d those river-gifts, 

Which God to his poor children sent ! 

There is no justice in the land 

Where law such evil work can do, 
The right of thousands to convey 

Unto the greedy-grasping few ! 
But God permits the weak a time, 

Thus to be trampled by the strong ; 
Yet He has iron limits fixed 

To every course of human wrong!" 

He ceased — the moonlight waves uprose, 

And lock'd him in their blue embrace ; 
And round his sinking, head, awhile, 

Play'd, in pale rings, then slept in peace — 
While calmly, o'er his oozy hall, 

The night-stars' tiny lustre burn'd, 
As if to light the gloomy depth 

To which the River-King return'd. 



THE DEATH OF KING BRIAN. 
a.d. 1014. 

At day-dawn the battle of giants began,* 

And the red rills of life to the reeking brine ran, 

While the blows, like the crashing of hugh millstones, fell 

On the broad iron shields and the jackets of steel, 

*" In this terrific contest fell fourteen thousand Danes, together with 
nine thousand of their Irish Legenian allies, and more than ten thousand of 
Brian's national army ; it was during the time of the flight the greatest 
carnage took place."— Norse Account. 



294 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And host consumed host, as a volcanic fire 
Heaves down the hill-rocks in its flame-belching ire ; 
And chief against chief, with a demon-roar sprung, 
Like rough granite- cliffs from their ocean-thrones flung. 

But of all the Norse-giants, in stature, far higher, 

And stronger, was Brodar the legion-destroyer ; 

His long, shining hair to his girdle was bound, 

And he look'd like a turret steel-plated around ; 

O'er his war-darkened brow his huge helmet's gold cone, 

Like a red midnight-flash on the mountain-top, shone ; 

And his eyes seem'd to glare the destruction of men, 

As if death-swords were shaped by grim fire-fiends within. 

Thro' the iron battalions he thunder'd amain, 

As the wind-spirit roars thro' the woods of the plain ; 

And, like brambles, the thickets of spears he o'erthrew, 

And, like vanishing mist-towers, the leaders he slew. 

As sledge-strokes rebound from a broad, brazen bar, 

His armour resisted the wrath of the war, 

And his shield met the blows as a strong rampart-wall 

Meets a whistling hail-shower on the wing of a squall. 

Against him rushed Ulfus, gigantic and grim, 

Like a gleaming steel-pillar, in body and limb, 

And his axe, like a thunder-bolt cleaving an oak, 

O'erthrew the fierce king of the fleets, with a stroke ; 

Thrice Brodar arose from the gore-flooded plain, 

And Ulfus thrice struck the chief prostrate again, 

'Till, at length, from the cascade of death-blows and blood, 

He flew, like a wolf, to the shades of a wood. 

The battle-sea surged, 'till the day's dying light 
Saw the sword-cloven ranks of the pirates in flight, 
While King Brian, at prayer, in his tent kneels alone, 
For his guards in pursuit of the Northmen are gone — 
A calm, holy ray round his brow seems to spring, 
As he looks on the cross of his crucified King : 
And never did royalty halo that brow 
So gloriously grand, and sublimely as now. 

There's a cry at the door — 'tis the kind voice of one* 
Whom he loved, as a sire loves his first-born son — 
" Oh ! Monarch of Eire ! cast thine eyes towards the sea, 
And behold the last terrific scene of the day ! 

* " This is supposed to be his grandson, Torlogh, who, though only fifteen 
years of age, followed his father, Morogh, through the thick of the "battle, 
and, after the flight of the enemy, was found drowned at the Weir of 
Clontarf, with his hands entangled in the hair of a Dane's head. It seems 
he had grappled with the Dane and both fell iuto the water where they 
perished together." — Annals of Munster. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 295 

A scene which a king may behold with delight, 
His Nation redeem'd and his foemen in flight — 
The sea-waves seem dancing in blood round the ships, 
Where the combat has shifted ts crimson eclipse !" 

Then the monarch looked down to the rim of the flood, 
Where the last yellow day-beam seem'd quenching in blood, 
And the battle-din lifted its iron-toned voice, 
Like an avalanche crushing an island of ice. 
And the whirling swords shimmer'd, like storm-driven spray 
Dancing up in a flame from a lightning- wrapt sea ; 
As the mad bands, in broken and bloody retreat, 
Disordered and desperate, rolled on to the fleet. 

And his great spirit, young with the fame of past fields, 
Seem'd to dance to the shrill-ringing tune of the shields ; 
And he wish'd to be there 'mid the whirl and the dash 
Of the war, with its hurricane-clangor and crash — 
The sun took a last glowing peep at the fight, 
And a tear seem'd to stand in his red eye of light, 
As if looking his last look, in glory and grief, 
On the God-imaged face of the saintly King-Chief. 

His last battle is fought — his last victory is won, 
And the race of his luminous grandeur is run ; 
•And his locks, like the snow-mist of wintry Craiglea, 
Shall soon spread their diadem'd curls on the clay. 
The Oracle answer'd — "The Ard Bigh shall fall,* 
And his brave blood shall crown the destruction of all ! 
And the heart-crying wail of his Nation shall ring 
To the throne of the Lord for the loss of her king !" 
Still roar'd on the strand the tumultuous affray, 
And the death -clamour strangled the shout of the sea ; 
And the horrified Norse-women sprung from the ships f 
To the waves, with their souls shrieking out on their lips. 
In fifties and hundreds the pirates were slain, 
From the strand to Ath Cliath and gory Tolcainn ; j 
And far as the vision could traverse the ground, 
Cloven trunks and hack'd mail spread their red banks around. 
The grim Brodar glared from the hem of the wood, 
And he saw where unguarded the old monarch stood ; 
He remember'd the demon's dark prophecy well, 
And his eye-balls flashed death, like two meteors of hell — 

* The chroniclers of the Battle of Clontarf state that Brodar, Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Danes, consulted an oracle about the events of the 
action, and the answer was, that if the fight took place on Good Friday, King 
Brian would surely fall. Brodar was a man of great strength and stature ; 
he was remarkable for his practice of magic, and the length of his yellow 
hair, which he fastened to his girdle. It was believed that his armour was 
proof against the weapons of his enemies. 

+ So sure were the Danes of the conquest of Ireland, that they brought 
numbers of their women with them ; but these, at the time of the rout, 
threw themselves, with terror, from the ships into the sea, where they 
perished. 

$ The Tolka river, near Dublin. 



296 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Striding out on the plain, towards the rich-silken tent, 

Like a plague-spirit, grimly and grisly he went ; 

Five straggling fugitives stalk'd at his back, 

Moving onward, like ravenous sharks to a wreck. 

Then the Spirit of Eire, like the glory of day, 

Came up from the mist of the blue twilight-sea ; 

And a rainbow-hued splendour around her was drawn, 

Like the rose- veil that hangs o'er the brow of the dawn. 

But her face, as she moved thro' the haze of the plain, 

As a beauteous eve-cloud, seem'd to melt into rain — 

On a grassy slope, rich with the new tinge of Spring, 

She stood — but unseen — near the tent of her king. 

And Oebhinn* the sad, came and sat at her feet, 

With the stain of fresh tears on her white-winding sheet ; 

Her bony hands lock'd o'er her knees lay at rest, 

As if strangling each low sob that rose from her breast ; 

And her eyes, round whose weird orbs a red circle burn'd, 

From the king to the coming assassins were turn'd, 

While often, her grief -bedimm'd vision to clear, 

Her pale hand was lifted to banish the tear. 

But Eire, looking up to the red gates of even, 

Fixed her glory -lit eyes on the glory of heaven, 

And her soul-cleaving agony burst into words, 

For the king of her kings and the lord of her lords. 

" Seven thousand brave lives have been wasted for me, 

Since the flame-footed morn danced over yon sea ! 

But, oh ! God of the mighty ! has fate darkly will'd 

That my highest and grandest one's blood must be spill'd ? 

His reign was a shadow that fell from Thy hand, 

Shedding love, light, and joy thro' the breadth of my land ; 

Fanes and altars he raised to Thy high, holy name, 

And purged from Thy people the weeds of their shame ! 

But shall the great work of the glory he plann'd, 

Depart, like a dream-image traced upon sand ? 

And leave me, amidst the bright conquests he won, 

Like a well-fruited garden deprived of the sun ? 

Farewell ! my defender, my guardian, my all ! 

I cannot here linger to witness thy fall ! 

My tears and entreaties, with fate, are in vain, 

While, for empires, thou would'st not fly from the plain ! 

To me were thy planet-like splendour and might, 

As to earth are the use and the beauty of light ; 

'Till the chalice of brightness I drank from thy hand, 

Steep'd my soul in a long dream of majesty grand ! 

♦ See pages 41 and 103. 

The annalists say that the Northmen were pursued in all directions, in 
twenties, in fifties, and in hundreds, and slaughtered without quarter by 
their avenging pursuers. "When Brian's guard returned, after the pursuit, 
and found their monarch dead, they hewed the bodies of the assassins into 
pieces. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 297 

The last reaping day of thy harvest is o'er, 

And the cup of thy glory can't hold a drop more ! 

Thou'lt sink to the dust, like a flame-cloven tower, 

And with thee I'll lose all my greatness and power ! 

For the light of my crown shall be taken away, 

And my doom shall be dark as the caves of the sea — 

My people shall bleed in a foreigner's thrall, 

And their bread and their drink shall be ashes and gall ! 

She sigh'd, and her mild eyes seemed freezing to stone, 
As if her great spirit had died in a groan ; 
And she melted away, like a heavenly beam 
Which the soul of a mourner beholds in a dream — 
Still Oebhinn, the Banshee, sat weeping behind, 
And her murmur of dole whisper'd death in the wind, 
As near the rich silk-cover'd tent of the King, 
Came the Lord of the Danes, with a tiger-like spring. 

But Eire's white-hair'd ruler stood arm'd for the fight — 
Fast-grasping his shield-cleaving war-axe of might, 
While his soul shot in flame thro' each muscle and vein, 
And thaw'd from each limb age's stiff icy chain. 
Like the Angel of Death looking down from the sky, 
His fire-armed spirit shot sparks from his eye, 
As he stood, with dread majesty lifting his form, 
Like an insulted god personating a storm. 

Even tall Brodar paused, with that fate-telling fear 
Which warns the soul when sure danger is near, 
And his heart, by the terrible King, awe-inspired, 
From his blood-longing purpose, a moment, retired. 
Brian's eye, like a red-scathing lightning-brand, fell 
On the sea-giant's ponderous garment of steel, 
But discern d no part where his axe may wound free, 
Except where the solid plates met at his knee. 

With vigour unswerving, the broad war-axe flew, 
Bone, sinew, and steel plates dividing in two ; 
The right leg is lopp'd, like a bough, from his knee, 
And the left from the ancle is sever'd as free — 
He fell, like a tower, and his heavy mail rung, 
Like a strong city gate from its lofty piers flung, 
While, well-aim'd and rapid, a second blow sped, 
And swept from his shoulders his iron-cased head. 

But the stragglers who followed the chief from the wood — 
With a yell of revenge for their pirate-king's blood — 
Surrounded the Ard Righ, and struck at his form, 
Yet, cautious, avoided the sweep of his arm, 
'Till one stole behind his illustrious foe, 
And shattered his head, with a life-drinking blow : 
The bleeding king shiver'd and stagger d aside, 
Grasp'd his slayer and slew him — then fell down, and died. 
20 



298 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

One shriek of the Banshee was heard on the blast, 
And away thro' the blue-dusky twilight she past 
To her home on Craiglea's rocky heath-circled height, 
Where her long, solemn wail 'woke the echoes all night. 
The harpstrings, untouched by a mortal hand, gave 
Low hollow-toned notes, like ghost-sighs from the grave, 
Where in the mute hall of Kinkora they hung, 
'Till their king-master's glorious return, unstrung. 

But they seem'd to each other to speak of his death, 
As if prophecy's spirit inspired them with breath : 
The startled bards heard the weird omen of woe, 
And they knew that the king of their songs was laid low. 
Fast, fast, thro' the Island the wild tidings spread — 
"King Brian — the mighty King Brian — is dead !"* 
All is mourning, and wailing, and sorrow, and gloom, 
As if the Last Day, in its terrors, had come ! 



THE MAIDEN'S DREAM. 

The month of flowers is come, 

And the pearly blossoms glow 
On the hawtree's scented arms, 

Like a shower of sunny snow, 
And the daisies, in the mead, 

Are like glistening foam-flecks seen, 
In the glory of the sunbeams, 

On a sleeping sea of green. 

From the mossy-vernal bank, 

The coy primrose glances up, 
With a rainbow-gem of light 

Sparkling in its yellow cup, 
While the honey-bee floats in 

To its dewy-couch of rest, 
To take a fragrant drink 

From its glowing golden breast. 

I am sitting all alone, 

In the dreamy summer's sun, 
On the fairy-haunted bank 

Of the shadowy Avondoun, 
But there's winter in my heart, 

For my blossom 's far away, 
And my soul can drink no joy 

From the flowery smile of May ! 

* When the fall of Brian, Morogh, Torlogh, Conning, Kian, and other 
great Chiefs became known to the country, the demonstrations of the 
people's sorrow Were intense, so loved were those warriors for their manly 
virtues and their large-hearted munificence. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 299 

Little river ! — stealing down 

From thy mountain sister-rills — 
Wildly singing your "Farewell /" 

To the glory of the hills — 
I am dreaming of the days, 

And the fairy moonlight-eves, 
When his young heart danced, with mine, 

To the crooning of thy waves ! 

The sun-kiss'd flowers that laugh, 

On yon blossom-crested bough, 
Remind me of the beauty 

And the brightness of his brow, 
When his soul in loving glances 

On my joyful bosom fell, 
Like the gentle ray of sunrise 

On the virgin primrose-bell ! 

The brown-plumed falcon perch'd 

On the castle-turret high, 
Looks proudly on the landscape, 

With his distance-piercing eye — 
But my " BochaiVs" eye was keener, 

With its spirit-kindled glow, 
Than the melting dart of lustre 

Shot from morning's golden bow ! 

To America he's gone, 

But he promised to return, 
Ere three floral summer-suns 

On our kingly mountains burn ! 
And I fondly dreamt, last night, 

He was coming o'er the sea, 
With good news for lonely Erin, 

And a bridal ring for me ! 

He was like a young wild steed, 

From a desert bounding out, 
And I fear he joined the war 

That's between the North and South — 
For my sad soul hears a whisper, 

When the evening-shadows frown — 
" Oh ! you'll never more behold him 

On the banks of Avondoun ! " 



THE PERI OF PARTEEN. 

Oh ! sweet are the lawns where the sunbeams and shadows, 
Like bright and dark spirits, so silently play, 

While the mist-god is spreading his white pinions, shedding 
Soft golden love-tears on the oosom of May — 



300 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 

But Nature hath never, by meadow or river, 
Given sweetness to beauty so bright to be seen, 

As the ringleted Fairy — young waxen-brow'd Mary, 
The snow-footed Peri of shady Parteen ! 

The down of the pigeon's wing never fell lighter 

On earth than the touch of her echoless feet, 
And her mild face with innocent blushes is brighter 

Than the fresh, sunny, summer-rose, simple and sweet. 
But what is the charm of feature or form 

To the angelic essence that's living within 
The bosom of Mary — the syren-tongued Fairy — 

The young dove-eyed Peri of shady Parteen ? 

One morning, as Love sketched an image of Beauty, 

And fancy gave life to the portrait he drew, 
A Seraph came down from the halls of the sun, 

And over the sweet picture radiantly flew ; 
But Love, tho' short-sighted, took his pencil, delighted, 

And copied that fair Spirit's form and mien, 
Then to Nature he ran, with the beautiful plan, 

And she moulded the Peri of shady Parteen ! 

Stately head of the bright, silken treasure of tresses — 

Gentle mouth where the soul of sweet melody swims — 
Eyes brilliantly flashing — cheeks modestly blushing — 

Slender frame of the delicate white-taper'd limbs — 
May virtue watch o'er thee, while lovers adore thee, 

And no thorn of pain in thy pure heart be driven, 
'Till, tearless and splendid, life's bright mission ended — 

The angels shall welcome their sister to heaven ! 



A VISIT TO CORK. 

INSCRIBED TO ROBERT P. C. WALSH, ESQ. 

'Twas a bright day of sunny-linked hours, 

And the young fruit was green on the tree, 
When I wandered from Shannon's wild bowers 

To thy home by the beautiful Lee ! 
As Nature's child welcomes the May, 

So warm was thy welcome for me, 
In thy glad little mansion, so gay, 

By the beautiful, clear-flowing Lee ! 

The pleasure that friendship imparts 

So seldom from others I drew, 
That I shrank from their cold, fireless hearts, 

Like a leaf in the blight-laden dew ; 
A genial communion of soul, 

I felt not with any but thee, 
So unchill'd by restraint or control, 

In thy home by the beautiful Lee ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 301 

Away with dull classical arts, 

In which nought but mere polish can shine 
But, oh ! God ! for a world of hearts, 

And social, kind natures, like thine ! 
Then here's to the noble-soul'd few — 

The lore-loving, generous and free, 
Who would make a Bard happy, like you, 

In your home by the beautiful Lee ! 

I mark'd the calm light thy thoughts gave 

To thy brow, as we two knelt and pray'd 
On the sacred sun -hallow' d grave 

Where the Bard* of the Shannon is laid ! 
I. pluck' d a few leaves o'er his breast, 

More dear than primroses to me, 
For I envied the place of his rest, 

By the beautiful, bright-winding Lee . 

In his life-time his soul's loving spring 

The cold world chill'd in its birth, 
And his fancy's bright star-ranging wing 

Was chain'd in the dust of the earth ; 
When doom'd in a garret to pine, 

How glad would his gentle heart be 
To meet a true spirit, like thine, 

By the beautiful, bright flowing Lee ! 

The blast of the desert will spare 

The weeds while it strikes the flowers dead, 
Thus fools are regarded, with care, 

Whilst prophets are pining for bread — 
Ah ! such, noble Bard ! was thy lot, 

While folly was pamper'd round thee, 
You thought, toil'd, and sung on, forgot, 

Far, far from, the Shannon and Lee ! 

To the Botanic Gardens we stray'd, 

To the grave of the " Minstrel Man /"+ 
Who to maidens and matrons play'd, 

By the Nore, Suir, Barrow, and Bann — 
As his epitaph-record I read, 

I offer' d his memory a tear ; 
"Oh, blest be the kind bands !" I said, 

That erected this monument here !" 

The nettles and weeds that had grown 

O'er the sleep of the song-honour'd dead, 
We tore up, around the gray stone, 

And cast them away from his bed — 

* Gerald Griffin is buried in the North Cemetery at Cork. 

t Edward Walsh, the gifted author of many original and beautiful com- 
positions, breathing the native sweetness of true, harmonious Irish poetry, 
His correct knowledge of the ancient Gaelic enabled him to translate a large 
number of Irish poems into English, without losing any of the freshness, 
viracity, and point of the mother-tongue. 



302 lAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Tho' his heart in Life's battle was stung, 
Yet few weeds in his nature had he, 

While his bruised spirit gushed into song, 
By the beautiful, bright-flowing Lee ! 

Dear Bard of the soul-kindling flame— 

My brother in poesy and love — 
Thou art hymning a God-praising theme, 

In the angel-orchestra above ! 
Farewell to thy bough-shadow'd tomb ! 

Where the soft winds sing requiems o'er thee- 
Farewell to my friend and his home, 

By the beautiful, bright-flowing Lee ! 



THE SPECTRE-BRIDE. 

A LEGEND OF KINKORA.* 

Majestic and grand are the towers of Kinkora, 

With her "Palace of jewels," all sparkling in sheen ; 
There's not in the land of romantic Temora 

A Palace so glorious — a valley so green. 
There Nature has flung o'er bright lake and lone dale, 

A magic more brilliant than ever descended, 
By the strong wizard-power of the Druids of La Fail,f 

On the Spirit-guarded circle of Temair the splendid. 
How gorgeously-beauteous, and solemnly-dark, 

The hills weave their shades o'er the waters below ? 
Each showing to heaven the lightning's black mark 

On the brown rocky-mail of its bosom and brow. 
And the woods at their feet, how enchanting they seem ? 

In the mountain-wind ringing their bright leafy-bells, 
As if Nature delighted lay there, in a dream, 

Charm'd into repose by the voice of their spells. 
And the Palace— how proud by the beam-glinting surge 

It stands, with its marble walls fronting the sun ; 
Looking out o'er the Lake, from the shore's radiant verge, 

With the pomp and the glow of an Archangel's throne. 

Here and there the quick glancing of gold-hilted blades, 
Like sun-born flashes, burst out from the shades 
Where the princes and lords, tired of revel and song, 
Are roving the woods' fairy shadows among, 
While out on the lawn, in the thyme-scented air, 
Walk virgins as gloriously-beauteous and fair 

* A. D. 978, Brian was crowned King of Munster. Tradition reports that 
on the same year the harvest was so abundant, the people were unable to 
gather it all in. 

t The above poem attempts to describe the Coronation-banquet given by 
the monarch at Kinkora, where all the brave and fair of the province 
assembled to enjoy the festivities. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 303 

As Deirdre the lovely or Blanaid the bright,* 

For whom Naois and Conrigh were vanquish' d in fight. 

Then to hear the rich swell of the harps in the halls, 

As if angels, in song, to each other were speaking, 
By turns the rich concert rises and falls, 

Round the bright plains the sweet-thrilling melody shaking 
And down by the shore, in green Edens of shade, 

To see the King-guests in their grandeur reclining — 
Their rich vests, with six radiant colours array'd, 

And their bright silken mantles with gold spangles shining, 
While the waves, stealing in on the brown-glossy sand, 

Fell asleep in the sun, with a musical tone ; 
Like large silver rings from the Lake-spirit's hand, 

As tokens of joy, at the heroes' feet thrown. 

Blue evening descended — the day-beams retire. 

And the crests of the hills are all plumed with their fire — 

Red gold-colour'd clouds of bright purple and brown, 

Like flame-banners hung o'er Craighlea's yellow crown. 

All was dusky and calm, and the white-horn'd moon 

Peer'd dim thro' the deep aerial-crystal of June ; 

And the pale fairy-mist on the hill-woods arose, 

Slowly casting its veil o'er their twilight-repose. 

Each mountain exchanged its deep, azure eve-gem 

For a gray moonlight-robe and a star-diadem, 

And, towering in heavenly dignity, stood, 

Like planet-guards watching the empire of God. 

Not a wave, on its bosom, a moon-sparkle bore 

From the lake's holy isles to the flowers of the shore — 

But all is as dreamy and beautiful there 

As if the calm waters stood silent in prayer, 

While, silvered with moonlight, the grand Palace-towers 

In kingly magnificence, peer'd thro' the bowers ; 

Enchantment around them and glory above, 

And within them all beauty, and music, and love — 

For long ere the day's flaming circle went down 

The blue slope of heaven, in dazzling career, 
Mononia gave Brian her glory -gemmed crown, 

And made him her king 'neath the Oak of Adair. + 

And her bravest, and proudest, and highest, to-night, 
Have come to Kinkora, with joy in their souls — 

To bow at the throne of the gifted and bright, 

And quaff the red stream of his gold-circled bowls, 

* " The magical Stone of Destiny on which the Tuatha De Danaan kings 
were crowned at Tara, attended by Druids, with their mysterious ceremonials. 
This stone was taken away to Scone, in Scotland, and afterwards to West- 
minister, where it is still to be seen." — Four Masters' Annals. 

t The royal Oak of Moyadair, beneath whose boughs the Dalcassian 
kings where crowned. It was cut down by Malachy II., in one of his raids 
against Brian. 



304 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

All, all is love, harmony, chivalry, mirth — 

And a thousand lights blaze o'er the face of the plain — 
Oh ! it seem'd a new Eden created on earth, 

Where the serpent could never find entrance again. 
The laugh of the joyous — the cheer of the free 
Rose wild as the deep summer-song of the sea ; 
The humblest there is no vassal nor slave, 
But a freeborn soul, bound by love to the brave. 
Bonfires redden'd the clouds on the mountain's gray head, 

And the spirit of song thro' the valleys was pour'd, 
And rich festive-boards round the gay lawns were spread, 

Where the peasant may banquet as well as the lord. 
White maidens, like heavenly spirits, were seen 

Gliding playful the moon-border'd larch-bowers among, 
With the smile of a happy soul bright on each mien, 

And a soft Gaelic ditty alive on each tongue. 
But to hear how the harps flung their notes into one 

Diapason of sweetness the grand halls within — 
As if the rich soul of each note that was gone 

Threw back on the strings its wild magic again. 
The jewels of princesses glisten'd and blazed, 
And dazzled the eyes of the chiefs as they gazed ; 
The regal boards groan'd with the savoury food — 
White fish from the lake and red deer from the wood — 
Young kine from the meadow — fat sheep from the hill, 
The snipe from the marsh and the duck from the rill — 
la goblets of silver the Danes' mystic Boir,* 

Whose current would warm the ice-heart of death, 
Show'd the luxurious glow of its sweet liquid-fire, 

Distill'd from the juice of the green fairy-heath — 
And the guests toasted, drank, cheer' d, and feasted, and sang, 
For the stars of the land round the board were assembled ; 
And the music and dancing incessantly rang, 

'Till the towers of the Palace resounded and trembled. 

'Twas midnight, and yet the wild revel went on 
As joyous and brilliant as when it began : 
But the ladies and maids to their chambers are gone, 
From the festive delights of the dais, but one — 
One strange, darkly-beautiful, wizard-eyed queen, 
Who never till now at the palace was seen — 



* Tradition reports that the Danes made a sweet-flavoured and intoxicat- 
ing liquor from the mountain-heath ; but so well did they conceal the art, 
that the Irish never could discover it. One of those foreigners and his 
son were detected at the process of distillation,; they were threatened with 
instant death if they refused to impart the knowledge of the art ; the wily 
father promised'to reveal the secret provided his son were killed, as he feared 
he would tell his countrymen and bring vengeance on him. The son was 
accordingly despatched, when the father said, with a triumphant sneer, 
" Now do ye the same to myself, for ye shall never know this secret !'' 
The hardened old pirate was at once put to death. A 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 305 

Unknown to the guests were her kindred and name — 

Slight were her arms and slender her frame ; 

Berry-black were her keen eyes, but darker her hair, 

As if all the gloom of December were there ; 

Yet her brow glistened pale, as the crescent of light 

That divides the dim empires of morning and night — 

Her bosom betray'd no emotion of breath, 

For the springs of her being seem'd tideless beneath, 

As if her whole soul in one deep thought was thrown 

In her eye of dark flame and her cold brow of stone. 

Thro' the glittering assembly her lurid eye ran, 

'Till its hot glance indignant was fixed upon one — 

One stern-brow'd chief — the fierce Tanist of Brugh, 

And well those dark eyes and white features he knew. 

Then she lifted the golden-fringed fulluinn she wore, 

And crossed, like a cloud-shade, the bright, marble floor, 

And stood, with her freezing brow, fronting the throne 

Where the newly-crowned king, like a summer-day, shone. 

His large eagle-eyes met her gaze, with a thrill,"" 

That made, for a moment, their planets stand still ; 

And the revellers grew mute, and astounded, look'd up, 

While the wine lay untasted and cold in each cup. 

As amid the drear pomp of a frost-stricken wood 

Stands the snowy-hair' d angel of winter — she stood 

Darkly, fearfully beauteous — repulsing, with awe, 

Each heart that approached her — each proud eye that saw — 

But the Ard Righ addressed her — " Strange Lady ! speak free, 

If favour or boon thou requirest of me!"* 

Unmoved was her figure — unchanged was her eye, 
And her lips were as steel sending forth a reply ; 
And no pallor crept into her cheek's hectic flush, 
Like the dingy-red leaf of the sick autumn-bush — 

"King ! the sound of thy fame shall be heard o'er the main, 
But the earth shall drink blood in the days of thy reign ! 

* So strictly did Brian see the administration of justice carried out, that 
neither wealth, position, nor dignity could save an offender from due 
punishment. At one time a serious crime was charged against one of his 
sons, and he immediately had him tried before a chief brehon (judge) and 
jury. Being convicted and sentenced, no mitigation would be granted by 
the monarch, the fall penalty was paid. He said that while he punished 
offences in his own family, it would deter others, and make them respect 
the law. He frequently repudiated his queen, Gormlaith, for her extrava- 
gant vanity and arrogance, but he only drew on his head the eternal resent- 
ment of that sublime Fury, who, with the aid of her brother, stirred up 
the Danes against him, promising, by private letters, her hand in marriage 
to three of their principal commanders, viz., Brodar, Satric, and Anrud, if 
they would overthrow her husband in battle ; consequently they fought like 
demons, at Clontarf , for the hand of the queen of Ireland, without knowing 
each other's motives, so well did each keep her secret to himself. After the 
fall of Brian she married Malachy, his successor, who was her third husband ; 
Olaf, the Danish King of Dublin, was her first ; she died in 1030. 



306 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Yet, like David, the chosen of God, ithou'lt outshine 
All the victors of Eire — all the kings of thy line — 
But if thou hast a heart for the injured, I claim 
A boon of redress in the injured one's name ; 
Call before thee yon reptile that lurks in the throng, 
'Till I whiten his cheek, with the tale of my wrong !" 

She pointed at Firgal the Tanist of Brugh, 

He, cowering, sank under the board from her view, 

And a sneer on her lip coldly, scornfully play'd, 

Like the curl of a stream in a bleak, haunted shade. 

The king shook his sceptre, commanding aloud, 

The chief to come forth from the banquetting crowd, 

But two heralds brought him out from his dark-lurking place, 

With the cold sweat of fear glistening o'er his white face. 

The lady look'd on him, with wrathful disdain, 

And the flame of her wild eye seem'd scorching his brain, 

And her hoarse, angry voice did the sternest appal, 

As it rang, like the shriek of a blast, through the hall. 

"Twelve red moons have traversed the skies since the night, 

On the banks of the Comog, I gave thee my plight! 

And thou swor'st, aloud, by the Gospel, to be 

A sire to my child and a consort to me ! 

I believed thee — the angels or demons of space 

Could not then read the lie in thy cold-blooded face ; 

Moreover you swore by Saint Bride's holy ring, 

That, when sceptred Mononia would crown her next king, 

At his coronation-banquet I'd proudly preside, 

With the church-hallowed name of a wife, by thy side — 

Ha! thou'st kept all thy treacherous promises well, 

But the river the rest of my history can tell! 

Now the king has been crown'd and the banquet is laid, 

And 'tis time to redeem all the vows thou hast made! 

My cheek has not lost the bright stain of its red, 

Tho' sleeping for months in the water's bleak bed — 

Here's the ring in my hand— let the priest read the rite, 

And we both shall be happy in wedlock to-night ! 

No bridesmaid nor guest to our nuptials we'll bring — 

Wilt thou honour my claim, with thy sanction? King ! 

I cannot wait longer, the rite must be done, 

Ere the gray East puts on the red ring of the sun!" 

The nobles look'd dumb on the guilty accused, 

And the Ard Righ gazed round him bewildered, confused, 

But ere monarch or brehon had time to reply, 

The cock's clarion told that the morning was nigh ; 

To a column of darkness the weird lady grew, 

While the blaze of the lamps turned purple and blue, 

And each chief felt his clouded eyes smitten with pain, 

As if a black fever-dream swam thro' his brain. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 307 

Dim, livid and sombre shades flitted around, 

With the wint'ry moan of a whirlwind's deep sound, 

And on to the door the black gloom- wave was borne, 

Like an eclipse slow-walking the hall of the morn. 

All is silent again, save the roll of the flood, 

And the dull, raving sound of the wind-shaken wood : 

But the East show'd the first crimson spangle of dawn, 

And the dark Spectre-Bride with her bridegroom was gone. 



THE DESTRUCTION OF KINKORA.* 

THE PROPHECY OF MORTOGHMORE O'BRIEN'S BARD. 

O'er gloomy Slieve Bernagh the evening fog roll'd 

Its mantle of vapour, in many a gray fold ; 

The women of Thomond are singing the caoine,^ 

Where they searched for their dead on the war-redden'd plain. 

The cattle are dying of plague in the vale, 

And the green of the land has grown meagre and pale, 

For God has look'd down on man's record of wrong, 

With a scourge in His hand, and a curse on His tongue. 

Oh ! ye blind race of Golamh, why do ye provoke 

The Holy One's anger — the wrath of his stroke ? 

He gave ye a land full of sun-ripen'd grain — 

Ye quarrell'd and sinn'd — and he sent ye the Dane, 

With a hell-temper'd sword to demolish and slay, 

'Till your Isle, like a burnt-up wilderness lay — 

'Till your heart-bleeding septs found their desolate tombs 

In the ashes and wreck of their fire-blacken'd homes — 

But the tears of the saints quenched the nation's death-pyre, 

And appeased, for a season, the Holy One's ire — 

Then He sent to redeem ye, King Brian the Grand, 

Who banish'd the* red-demon pests from your land, 

And he lifted ye up from your ashes blood-leaven, 

'Till your free Island laughed with the brightness of heaven ! 

But again shrieks the Cain-cry of blood on your brand, 
For brother 'gainst brother, has lifted his hand — 
Woe, woe to your discords ! ye blind-hearted men ! 
Ye have anger' d the Lord to chastise ye again! 
And He'll roll a death-stone o'er your Island of mist, 
That shall wither your spirits and grind you, like grist, 
Yea, He'll send a fierce scourge ten times worse than the Dane, 
And the nations shall laugh at the howl of your pain! 

* A.D. 1118, Torlogh O'Connor, King of Connaught, advanced to Kinkora, 
tore down the royal edifice, and hurled it, wood and stone, into the 
Shannon : the Dalgais, at the time, being so weakened from continual war- 
fare, were unable to defend it, but in two years after they invaded Con- 
naught, plundered and burned it, and did not leave of O'Connor's palace 
one stone upon another even to the lowest foundation. This they did in 
revenge for the ruin of their favourite Kinkora. 

t It was a custom with the women to sing the death chant or caoine, 
while searching the field for their dead relatives, after a battle. 



308 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Base strangers shall pollute the hearths of your kings, 

And your customs erase as abominable things! 

And your princes, with all the high pride of their birth, 

Shall be rooted, like trees, from the breast of the earth ! 

Woe, woe to your discords — ye doom'd Gaels of Eire — 

The death-toothed harrow of famine and fire, 

On his mission of vengeance, a foreigner brings * 

To rake ye to dust, princes, people and kings ! 

Ha! the fruit of your fields for a stranger shall grow, 

And your grim persecutors shall mock at your woe ! 

Your children shall wander, like sea-birds forlorn, 

Cast out from their homes, like the chaff of a barn — 

And thus shall your murderous dissensions be cool'd, 

When your land by the base-blooded stranger is ruled! 

Return, O'Connor! return to thy home, 

Desecrate not a stone of yon bright palace-dome ! 

The steel-talon'd Eagles it nurst in its breast 

Have perish'd in fight — then destroy not the nest! 

The mighty MacLoughlin consumed it before, 

In the turbulent days of the fierce Mortoghmore,f 

But the king to the blue North his wrathful face turn'd, 

And Aileach the Pompous to ashes he burn'd ! 

And his clansmen return'd, each bringing a stone 

Of the proud palace-walls by his vengeance o'erthrown — 

Then remember, King ! tho' the Dalgais, this hour, 

Are unable to stem the great tide of thy power, 

Yet they'll gather their might, like the might of the sea, 

And, with ruin and blood, thy black insult repay! 

Retire, haughty chief! let Kinkora alone — 

For I swear by the sun! if you touch but one stone! 

The demons of hell and angels of heaven 

Shall sup at one feast ere the wrong be forgiven!" 

Thus sang the bard, in a robe of white, 

As he stood 'mid the shadows of brown Craighlea ; 
His wild eye red as a furnace-light, 

And his bold mouth teeming with prophecy — 
"Thou, evil lips!" said the frowning king, 

"Here's a chain of gold to curb thy tongue!" 
The angry bard caught the glittering thing, 

Which into the deep lake's wave he flung, 

* Alluding to the Norman invasion which soon followed. 

+ "In 1064, MacLoughlin, Prince of Aileach, invaded the principality of 
Mortoghmore O'Brien, King of Munster; among other predatory acts, he 
plundered and demolished the Palace of Kinkora. Mortogh, after re-edify- 
ing it, marched into Ulster, and burned down the royal Palace of Aileach, 
and made each man of his army bring away a stone of it into Thomond. 
How peacefully he waited for three years, during which time he had his 
ancestral palace in course of reconstruction, before he thought of bringing 
away the stones of Aileach from the North. This was an act of vengeance 
with a vengeance, which put to the blush the wildest exploit of his fiercest 
enemy." — Annafo of Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 309 

Then he turned his eye from the curling flood, 

And said to the king, with a darken'd smile, 
"May thy proud house perish in flame and blood, 

If you lift a hand to yon princely pile!" 
The monarch pass'd, with his spears of war 

Shining o'er the crests of his veteran powers, 
Who, with rooting axe and disjointing bar, 

Assail'd the fair walls of the kingly towers — 
Unroof'd were chamber and banquet-hall — 

Brief was the work of ten thousand hands, 
While, breach by breach, wall after wall, 

Went down, with a crash, on the smoking sands. 
The oaken boards and the seats of state, 

With their regal carvings and polish 'd frame, 
The base kerns smash'd, in their wolfish hate, 

And hurl'd them, piecemeal, into the stream. 
The echoes groan'd as the wreckers' cheer 

On the passing wing of the lake-gale leapt ; 
But the old men of Cas, who were standing near, 

Turn'd their brows to the earth and wept — 
Tower and column were riven and roll'd 

Into the ruin-discolour'd tide, 
Where, like growing banks-of shapeless mould, 

They turn'd the lordly river aside. 
And King O'Connor look'd joyfully on, 

'Till the walls were plough'd to the very dust, 
And when the unholy work was done, 

A vengeful laugh from his curved lip burst. 
Kinkora, that day, was a woeful sight, 

Hurl'd into the grave of the yellow flood ; 
Oh ! they left not a vestige, nor stone upright, 

To mark where the House of King Brian stood. 
The priests of the Dalgais gaz'd from the hill, 

And their big tears flow'd, and their heads they shook — 
They tore their robes, as they cried their fill, 

And curst O'Connor, with bell and book. 
But when the blood-stain'd ravagers went 

Their way — while the scene in the sunset slept — 
Bard, brehon, and clansman, with deep lament, 

Surrounded the place, and, like children, wept. 

"0 Kinkora! high dwelling of banquet and song! 

Where the gold-crown'd kings of the nation met, 
At feast and council — oh, heart of the strong ! 

How has the light of thy grandeur set? 
Rich queen of great treasures ! sad is thy mishap! 

None thought that forlorn and poor you'd be, 
When the wealth of an empire was laid in thy lap, * 

And wonderful tributes pour'd into thee ! 

* Tradition relates that the wealth of this palace was so immense it was 
sufficient to purchase a kingdom. It was usually called " the Palace of 
jewels" "by the bards and JSeanachies, on account of its enormous treasures. 



310 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

There none ask'd the foot-sore traveller's name, 

When he went to thy hall and sat down to dine — 
None ask'd who he was, or whence he came, 

But gave him plenty of meat and wine ! 
There the weak found pity — the weary found rest — 

The scholar found honour — the orphan bread — 
There the plaint of the injured was heard and redress' d, 

And the wandering minstrel welcomed and fed — 
Oh, generous house of majestic souls! 

We thought thy glory would never fall, 
When we saw, at one banquet, a thousand bowls 

Of silver and gold in thy sounding hall ! 
Tis well for Mac Leig * that he lies in dust, 

For if he were living, this night, to see 
Thy black desolation, his heart would burst, 

fn singing another "Lament" for thee! 
Ah ! 'tis well for the cruel despoilers now, 

That Brian, the mighty Avenger, is dead, 
For instead of each stone of his palace laid low, 

He'd take as an eric, + a Connaughtman's head! 
Or if Morogh, the slayer of armies, were here — 

'Tis dearly those brigands their deed would rue — 
Or fierce Mortoghmore, with his mail- cleaving spear ! 

That the champions of Aileach, in battle, o'erthrew! 
But a day of blood-reckoning is near at hand, 

For the war-hawks of Eber shall soon grow strong 
. To wreak their resentment, with fire and brand, 

On the raiders — Kinkora! who wrought this wrong! 



THE PIRATE OF DUNLICA. + 

A LEGEND OF CORCOWASKIN. % 

Fair Una MacMahon, the yellow-haired bride 
Of the Lord of Dunlica, sits lone by the tide ; 

* He was Brian's Bard and Secretary of State. See Mangan's transla- 
tion of his beautiful " Lament for Kinkora," after Brian's fall at Clontarf. 
He died in the Isle of Man, two years after the battle. 

t A fine or compensation. 

In Loch Dearg, adjacent to the Palace, tradition tells that the far-famed 
magical collar of Moran lies hidden. This wonderful collar was used by 
the brehons, or chief judges, to elicit true testimony from sworn witnesses 
in law suits. It was placed around the neck of the witness, but if he swore 
falsely it immediately contracted and choked him. I only wish we had 
many such collars now, at least one in every courthouse in Ireland. 

X Dunlica Castle (or rather the ruins of it) stands on a naked cliff, in a 
deserted and romantic spot, on the south-western coast of Clare, between 
Kilkee and Carrigaholt. According to some oral accounts, it Was built in 
the fifteenth century by one of the MaeMahons of Corcovaskin. It was 
long the abode of pirates and wreckers, the principal of whom was Cean 
Dhu, or dark head, the hero of the above poem, who possessed the castle 
through a marriage alliance with the MacMahon family. Fragments of 
the burned ship, which belonged to this pirate chief, have often been found 
on the coast, b\iried in the sand. 

§ " Corcovaskin comprises the baronies of Moyarta, Clonderalaw, and 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 311 

The red eve is quench'd in the blue, sullen main, 

And the night-mist hangs pale over stormy Moveen. 

The waves, in a war-dance, are shouting below, 

And tossing about their tiaras of snow, 

Besieging the bounds of that cliff-guarded shore, 

Which may challenge their might for five thousand years 



But why sits fair Una alone on the verge 

Of that desolate rock, by the roar of the surge ? 

The wave-spray is silvering the silk of her hair, 

The darkness grows 'round her, and still she is there ! 

The sea-birds are shrieking, like ghosts, 'round the cliffs, 

And the fishers have steer'd to the brown bay their skiffs, 

For they know by the low dingy scud of the South, 

That the fiend of the tempest to-night will be out. 

And Una has watch'd, from the dusk to the dark, 

For the breeze-swollen wings of her Ocean-Chief's bark, 

Which has gone in pursuit of some maritime prey, 

Since morning put on the sun-splendours of day. 

Twelve evenings had crimson' d the face of the tide, 

Since the Lord of Dunlica had made her his bride : 

Of all brave sea-rovers the bravest was he, 

And of Thomond's fair daughters the fairest was she, 

With ringlets which hung, like a beautiful charm, 

O'er the delicate mould of her snow-neck and arm, 

And lips, like a rich glowing crescent of coral 

Enclosing a sea-fairy's palace of pearl ; 

And her face, like a seraph's cast into repose, 

Had the fresh, sweet Spring-bloom of the young desert rose ; 

And her form, like the green, slender poplar in May, 

When the zephyrs, in music, steal round it to play ; 

Yet her eye, when the veil of its lightning was raised, 

Like the flash of her father's blue scimitar, blazed ^ 

For her spirit, when angry, look'd out from her face, 

With the grand, stern pride of her regal-soul'd race. 

Since childhood she haunted the glorious sea-shore, 

In love with its terrors, and pleased with the roar 

Of the thunder-toned surges that danced in and out, 

Like an army of white giants charging about ; 

And Una became like a thing of the sea, 

Begot of its grandeur and born of the spray, 

Ibrickane. It was called after Baskin, the second son of Conaire, Monarch 
of Ireland, in the second century. The O'Donnells were the principal 
owners until dispossessed by the MacMahons, an offshoot of the O'Briens. 
They built many castles in Corcovaskin, such as Carrigaholt, i.e., the 
Rock of the boats, the castle of Kilmuxry in Ibrickane, the castles of 
Dun beg and Dunmore, and several other fortresses, the ruins of which 
attest the great former strength of those places. Cleena was another 
important stronghold of this ancient and once-powerful family." — Annals 
of Thomond. 



312 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Till her spirit look'd scornfully back to the earth, 
That bounded her wanderings and boasted her birth. 

When the red, sombre sun-mist of evening was thrown 
O'er the ocean, she gazed on its glory alone, 
As she stood o'er the blue mountain-swell of the deep, 
Like a bride of the Wind-God, enthroned on a steep ; 
Or she rush'd, in her skiff, thro' the combat of waves 
As if the mad seas and wild squalls were her slaves, 
And she seem'd, on the white-rolling surges, to be 
Like a darling child danced on a fierce parent's knee. 
The wild ocean-birds were not daunted nor scared 
From their places of rest when the princess, appear' d ; 
For they knew, as she strayed on the cliffs, flinty shelves, 
That she loved the grand sea and was wild as themselves ! 
And she was the child of a chief that ne'er bow'd — 
MacMahon, of Baskinn, the princely and proud; 
And she wedded the Lord of Dunlica, because 
He lived free as the shark, and regarded no laws : 
The Sassenach sailors long dreaded and knew 
His power ; — and the peasantry call'd him Cean Dhu ! 

The last dusky sun-streak is gone from the sky, 

And the clouds — like black war-steeds that riderless fly 

From the red press of battle — are rapidly borne 

Thro' the dim, aerial vault, with their sable skirts torn, 

For the tempest has sounded its battle-charge dire, 

And the breakers leapt up, as if pinion'd on fire, 

Shouting awful defiance to lightning and squall, 

And shaking the cliffs with the crash of their fall ; 

Fierce-blending their war-whoops, majestic in one 

Thunder-chorus of wrath, as they madly charged on 

The flint-clifted ramparts, that awfully stand 

Repelling their furious assaults on the land, 

While the dense, showering spray hissed and whirled to and 

fro, 
Whitening all the wide coast with the clouds of its snow. 
Now they gather and boil at the rock's iron foot, 
Then, like screaming ghosts, up to the headland they shoot ; 
Now downward they dance, tearing all in their way, 
Flogging boulder and crag with their white whips of spray ! 
Then up, with mad vengeance, they thunder again, 
Roaring, wrestling, to pull the cliffs into the main ! 
Here they shriek into chinks —there they bellow in caves, 
As if seeking some victims to drag to their graves ! 
Now they foam, flash and leap, dance and shout o'er the reef, 
Like retreating clans calling for aid to their chief ; 
Then onward, with mighty reinforcements of foam, 
Up the jagg'd shelves, like hoarse-howling demons, they come 
Again, with a fierce yell of wrath, they sweep down, 
Like an army repulsed from the walls of a town 1 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 313 

The Lord of Dunlica was cruizing all day, 

When, an hour before sunset, he captured a p rey : 

A rich English merchant, whose freight, we are told, 

Was worth twenty thousand bright pieces of gold ; 

But a war-frigate swept on the Pirate-Chief's track, 

Threw open her ports, and commenced the attack ; 

And Cean Dhu's guns, in a moment, replied, 

And gave the brave foe a destructive broadside ! 

In shrill, whistling splinters the riven planks flew, 

Where the fiery shot tore, killing nine of the crew — 

Night shadow'd the main, as the combat began, 

Yet the iron-destruction, from ship to ship ran, 

Rending bulwark and hull, till each blood-painted deck 

Was strewn with dead trunks and encumber'd with wreck ! 

In rapid succession the quick lurid blaze 

Of the cannon appear'd thro' the deep ocean-haze ; 

And ruin's dread thunder-boom followed each flash, 

Then the ringing oak shriek' d to the balls' hollow crash ; 

The tempest leapt down from its empire of gloom ' 

And plough'd the dark sea into ridges of foam ; 

And the militant vessels were whirl'd away, 

(Ere the combat was o'er), thro' the mists of the spray ; 

While the fearless Cean Dhu looks around him, to view 

The reeking destruction of half his fierce crew ! 

The bodies were flung in one seething grave, white, 

And the sharks feasted well on the spoils of the fight. 

Yet the Pirate Chief still is the lord of the tide, 

And he speeds away home to his proud ocean-bride ; 

With his tatter' d sails reefed, and his bulwarks ball-riven, 

Right on towards Dunlica the Sea-Chief is driven ; 

And he stands on the high poop, as fixed as a tower, 

'Mid the storm's hoarse shout and the spray's bursting shower, 

He has yet to contend with a f oeman more dire — 

Hark! the cry <$¥ his sailors — " The ship is on fire !" 

Up leapt the dread blaze, with its black plume of smoke, 

From cabin and berth o'er the charred deck it broke ; 

To curb its advance every effort is vain, 

The ship, like a volcano, flamed on the main ! 

''Lower the boat!" yelled the chief, " ere the quick flames 

invade 
The deep magazine, where the powder is laid !" 
The boat's lower'd and mann'd, but the turbulent waves, 
'Gainst the side of the burning ship, dashed it to staves ; 
Six stout hands went down, in a whirlpool of foam, 
Interred in its fathomless abyss of gloom. 
The red conflagration is lord of the ship, 
And the rest of the sailors have plunged in the deep, 
For they knew, tho' the wild ocean's mercy was small, 
The dread tyrant, fire, had no mercy at all ; 
21 



314 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 

And they sunk, one by one, in their struggles o'erpower'd, 
In the gulf of the mad waves, like atoms, devour'd ! 
But the lord of the pirates is still on the deck, 
Alone, with the fire-fiend, disputing the wreck ; 
And he look'd as undaunted and calm, at that hour, 
As if seated at ease in Dunlica's strong tower ; 
For his was a spirit that bravely would bear, 
But not bend to the doom he no longer could dare 
And he firmly and valiantly welcomed his fate, 
When hope was no more and resistance too late. 

But, what are the thoughts of brave Cean Dhu now, 

As he stands on the poop, with his hand on his brow ? 

He is thinking of her who is waiting, in vain, 

To welcome him home from his ride on the main ; 

And the eye of his mind sees her stand at the board, 

Filling up the rich "meaner" of wine for her lord, 

With her queenly eyes anxiously turn'd towards the door, 

Expecting the chief — doom'd to see her no more ! 

But she, from the cold cliff, looks out on the wave, 

Where he, on a fiery bier, drifts to his grave. 

But the blaze of the ship is beheld from the. strand, 

Like a large meteor-lamp in a Sea-spirit's hand ; 

And Una has seen the red, shuddering rays, 

Which shot o'er the surf, from the eye of the blaze. 

"Tis his bark — and on fire!" she exclaimed, and up- 
sprung, 
From her shoulders the golden-fringed "fulluinn" she flung, 
And rushed to the tower where, at once, to her call, 
Two seamen, dark-featured, rush'd out from the hall ; 

" Give my skiff to the surge — let your best oars be mann'd 
She said — towards the burning ship waving her hand ; 
Her order's obey'd — soon the canoe was borne 
Where the waves to the sea-brink a passage had worn. 
O'er the black crags she follow'd, as agile and free 
As the white gulls that shoot round the rim of the sea ; 
While the hearts of the ocean-sons quailed at the roar 
Of the breakers, whose thunder-crash shook the dark shore. 
Thrice the squalls struck them down at the cliffs flinty base, 
And the serpent-tongued lightning spat fire in their face ! 
Still Una her pressing command sternly gave 
To strike out, with the dancing retreat of the wave. 
The lady is seated her rowers beside ; 
Off they shoot, with the sweeping recoil of the tide, 
And they rapidly bound o'er the surf's whirling banks, 
Like a war-charger spurr'd thro' the battle's deep ranks. 
Now down in the gulf of the billows they steer ; 
Now high on their summits they spring, like a deer ; 
Away, 'mid the roaring of surges and wind, 
They dash, while the coast mcMs in darkness behind. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 315 

* ' Pull steady, my men ! lest the waves' furious leap 
Catch your oars, and upturn our boat in the deep ; — 
Pull stronger and quicker!" she said, and back roll'd 
From her brow to her shoulders her cloudlets of gold. 
Bending fast to their strokes, the tough ash oars they strain, 
And the skiff, like a bird, seem'd to fly o'er the main. 
Swift-cleaving the foam, they dash'd onward, and came 
Near the ship, grandly trimm'd with her garment of flame. 
The three mighty elements — fire, wind, and sea,— 
Battled fierce round that gaunt wreck, demanding their prey ; 
And the surf o'er the crackling deck madly leapt in, 
But the rebel-flames rallied and flash'd up again, 
Glaring luridly down on each breaker's white head, 
And tinging the clouds, with a dark-flitting red. 
Now out from the black ports they curl o'er the brine ; 
Now up the tall main-mast, like serpents, they twine 
While the ropes, from the yard-arms, swinging on high, 
Like blazing brands, toss'd their red ends in the sky ; 
And the broad, flaming wings of the lurid sails shone, 
Like fiery clouds toss'd o'er the tempest-fiend's throne, 
While their bright burning shreds, by the howling blast torn, 
O'er the gloom of the waters, like meteors, were borne. 

The skiff danced along on the flame's golden line, 

That quiver'd and curv'd o'er the turbulent brine : 

And Una has sounded a signal sea-horn, 

Whose note to the ear of her chieftain was borne ; 

He knew that wild sound, and he look'd o'er the flood ; — 

Up leapt, with new spirit, the springs of his blood, 

As he saw his brave lady's skiff bounding in sight, 

Where the blaze zoned the sea with a red ring of light. 

She sees on the high poop his dim, ghostly form, 

Like a phantom of ruin called up by the storm, 

And where the chief stood on his dread ocean-pyre, 

Was the only dark spot yet untouch'd by the fire. 

Haste ! haste ! — gallant chief, death to seize thee is slow ! 

The flames are surrounding the powder below ; 

One short minute more, and those red planks shall fly, 

With a volcanic roar, thro' the shrill-ringing sky ! 

His fate has been cheated — one moment's delay — 

He look'd on the fire, and he looked on the sea ; 

And, dashing his shaggy-hemm'd "cochal" aside, 

He plunged, like a spear, in the foam-sheeted tide, 

Fair Una's white arms are stretch'd to receive 

Her lord, as he rose on the swell of the wave : 

One prayer to Saint Sinan, — and gallant Cean Dim 

Is safe, with his spouse, in the sable canoe ; 

And away to the coast they are shooting again, 

With a strong, steady stroke, sweeping o'er the dark main. 

But where is the foeman that fought him at eve, 

Ere the tempest provoked the white wrath of the wave ? 



316 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

He is near, with reefed sails, looking on, with grim joy, 
At the doom of the brave ship that blazed to the sky, 
And he sees, by the flame's ruddy shimmer, the skiff 
Bounding off, thro' the foam, towards Dunlica's dark cliff : 
Quick, the long boat is mann'd for a desperate pursuit, 
And away on the track of the pirate they shoot : 
They fired thro' the gloom, and the hot balls were sent 
Thro' the mist of the spray where the gallant skiff went ; 
But death's leaden heralds at random hiss'd by 
The fearless Cean Dhu, yet not destined to die, 
" They are fast gaining on us ! " fair Una replied, 
" Pull quick for the cave where the sea-monsters hide ! "* 
But scarce had the words from her trembling lips pass'd, 
When a broad surge of flame o'er the ocean was cast : 
Night gather'd her black robe aside, to give room 
To the blaze that, a moment, invaded her gloom ; 
And up to the heavens that burning ship sprung, 
While the vault of the stars with a thunder- crash rung ; 
And the waves seem'd to quail in their mighty career, 
And stoop their gray heads, as if smitten with fear ! 
That wreck's blazing fragments were hurl'd on high, 
Like ten thousand fire-rockets flung up to the sky ; 
Then, like red brands from heaven flung down to the main, 
The flame-showers flashed back to the waters again. 

Right into the deep hollow womb of the cave 

Leapt the skiff, thro' the rage of the rock-cleaving wave ; 

The explosion's fierce lightning-flash showed them the way 

To that horrid cave's craggy mouth foaming with spray. 

The enemy, headlong pursuing the chief, 

Dashed into the breakers that danced on the reef ; 

The boat on the rock's point was smash'd, like a clod, 

And the crew buried deep in the whirl of the flood. 

Cean Dhu to his sea-towerf has gone, with his spouse, 

And the board is prepared for a glorious carouse ; 

The harper, MacDarry, is tuning the wire 

To a brave song of valor, the feast to inspire. 

Cean Dhu drank a bowl to the health of his bride, 

And another to those who lay cold in the tide ; 

Then he whirl'd his proud wife by the white hand around, 

And he caper'd away to the music's wild sound. 

Round her fair shoulders floated her curls, golden-brown, 

One hand by her kirtle swung gracefully down ; 

And her steps seem'd so buoyant and lightly to fall, 

That they scarce stirr'd a rush on the floor of the hall : 

* The cavern alluded to was hollowed by the sea under the'cliffs of Dunlica. 
The monsters of the deep seek shelter there during the winter seasons, and 
often, in that dark retreat, they were attacked and slain by the hardy fisher- 
men, of the neighbouring coast. 

t "While correcting this poem I have been informed that a great part of 
the venerable castle has fallen to the ground. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 317 

While he, like a wild steed by bridle ne'er bound, 

Made the echoes ring up from the heart of the ground ; 

For he danced, like his ship to the tune of the storm, 

Till his swarthy brow steam' d with big drops, reeking warm : 

'Twas a grand gala night for the Sea-Chief on shore, 

But the dawn of the dark wave beheld him once more. 



THE FATE OF MAHON AND EILEEN. 

A LEGEND OF o'CEARNEIGH. 

I learned an olden legend, in the green halls of the wood, 
Where the misty -border'd Raite* pours the glory of its flood ; 
With the shadow'd meadows slanting to the tide-bank's reedy 

fringe, 
And the blue-faced mountains looking on the moorland's russet 

tinge. 

The dawn-dews roll'd their silvery rings around each blossom'd 

thorn, 
That stood, like snow-clouds, in the fence before the glow of 

morn; 
When a brown-eyed peasant-maiden, as she milk'd her white 

striped cow, % 

In the birch-grove's emerald vista, told the tale I'm telling now. 

Cearnighe'sf lily-footed daughter was Temora's stateliest dame, 
Ere the red, marauding Norman to our holy valleys came ; 
Like a brier-rose, by a field-rill, in her wild, bright beauty grew, 
The valley's dark-eyed huntress, marble-handed Eileen Dhu. 

Like a golden veil, her ringlets might have touch'd her waxen 

feet, 
As the clouds that form the sunbow, curling o'er two specks of 

sleet, 
On a Spring-hill's morning forehead, when the glistening beads 

of rain 
Drop, like gemlets, thro' the white haze on the green lap of the 

plain. 

The rich-soul'd songs of Eire to the cruit-wires she sung, 
With the wild heart-melting passion of the flowery Celtic 

tongue ; 
Her life was as the desert air that wanders where it will, 
Freshen'd with the scent of blossoms and the sweet thyme of 

the hill. 

* The River Raite, from whichBunratty derives its name ; it is also called 
the O'Cearneigh, 

t The O'Cearnighes, or O'Kearneys, were lords of a territory bordering 
the above river, beyond Six-Mile-Bridge. 



318 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Who was comelier, in the valley, than the flame-eyed Mahon 

Roe? 
'Mong ten thousand stately warriors the young giant-chief 

you'd know ; 
Torlogh's battle-bands of Connaught,* well his arm of terror 

knew, 
As the field-birds know the eagle when he hovers in their view. 

Like the gale upon the waters, was his footstep in the race, 
Like a frost-star crossing heaven, was his spear-head in the 

chase ; 
And he tower'd above the war-surge, like a billow-cleaving 

skiff, 
Looking proudly, as the osprey on a thunder-riven cliff. 

He saw the fawn-like Eileen, gentle-eyed and radiant-brow'd, 
And his soul before the altar of her angel-beauty bow'd ; 
While she felt her heart-depths thrilling, like the April song 

of streams, 
When he stood, at pensive midnight, in the vista of her 

dreams. 

For her he drew the red trout from the Raite's steep-bank'd 
flood, 

When mopiing's golden finger tipp'd the green brow of the 
wood; 

For her he brought the young roes from the mountain- 
ravine down, 

And the nuts of fragrant kernel from the hazel's branchy 
crown. 

He taught her how to bend the yew, with steady, practised 

skill, 
Till she shot the circling plover as they wheel'd around the 

hill; 
He taught her, in the mountain- wilds, to hit the flying deer, 
'Till her young heart knew no rapture but while Mahon Roe 

was near. 

But there wander' d in the bosom of the forest of Glengael, 
A mighty hind that long defied the hunter's hounds and 

steel ; 
And a legend of this great hind to the Seanachies was known, 
That the hunter who would slay her, would be lord o 

Munster's throne. 

An4 many a wild aspirant, with a passion to appear 
In the trappings of an Ard Righ,f chased this phantom 
year by year ; 

* Torlogh ft' Connor, King of Connaught, and Torlogh O'Brien, King of 
Munster, were, about that time, at deadly feud, -which ended in the terrific 
battle of Moinmor, where the power of both prorinces was almost destroyed. 
See a description of the fight at page 68. 

t High King. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 319 

But their nimble hounds of swiftness and their steeds, like 

desert-wind, 
Were outstripp'd and blindly baffled by the lightning-footed 

hind. 

And many a sore disaster were the huntsmen made to feel — 
Fractured limbs and aching bruises which no liniments 

could heal ; 
Till, vanquish'd and despairing, they shunned the forest-gloom, 
And the red hind still was monarch of her leafy desert-home. 

Eileen learned the wondrous legend, and a dream of power and 

fame, 
To the chamber of her spirit, like a dazzling vision, came ; 
And she told her heart-led lover he would rise to be a king, 
If the trophies of the red hind from the desert he would 

bring ! 

And she pledged her faith to wed him on the evening of 

the day, 
When his conquering spear of brightness the enchanted hind 

would slay ; 
More, she promised to go with him to the dark and dreaded 

place, 
To partake the pleasant perils of the wild, exciting chase. 

With quick assent, young Mahon* to the maiden's counsel 
bent, 

While her voice, like fairy music, to his fiery heart-springs 
went ; 

And his wild eyes flash'd, with gladness, like the sudden- 
bursting blaze 

Of a sunbeam on the river, thro' the March-sky's melting 
haze. 

Morning walks upon the mountain, with a burning foot of 

gold, 
And the wood-gales shake the perfume from the blossom's 

rosy fold ; 
The white-dew fall on the hill-side, like a beach of pearl, 

shines, 
And the Spring-clouds, o'er the star-vault, spread their 

glowing silver lines. 

From his mystic house of honey, in the thyme-bank's mossy 
knee, 

Taking tribute of the wild flowers, wings the summer- 
loving bee ; 

* " This chief is supposed to be one of the Mahon family of Clonoon, near 
Corofin. Clonoon Castle is situated in the parish of Kilkeedy, barony of 
Inchiquin. In 1586, it was besieged and dismantled by Sir Richard 
Bingham, who gave the garrison no quarter " — Annals of Thomond. 



320 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

In a dance of glistening crystal, down the crags the hill- 
founts run, 
And the lark is at his music in the palace of the sun. 

Early moved young dark-eyed Eileen by the oak wood's 
breezy side, . 

And Mahon Roe, as early, marked the white plain, with his 

She, with bow and beaming arrows, he, with hounds and 

hunting spear, 
Which, in wild Moyarta's greenwood, brought down many a 

stately deer. 

Away they go together thro' the shadow-checker'd wold, 
Where the valley's sylvan moss-lawns spread their spangled 

beds of gold; 
Four attendants move behind them, with the leash d dogs m 

their care, 
And snowy oiser-baskets fill'd with fruits and wholesome tare. 

To the forest's branchy centre, where the fragrant sorrel grew, 
They advanced, ere day's red noonbeam drank the heath- 

bell's chaliced dew^ * 
And Mahon's eyes, like'fire-darts, pierced the gloom on every 

side, 
Till beneattfa great oak, resting, the majestic hmd he spied. 

"Oh, by all the saints in Erin!" cried the young chief, with 

delight, 
"Look you yonder, lovely Eileen! there's our royal game in 

sight! . 

'Tis by statagem, my fair one, we must chance to bring her 

down ! 
Else thy head of pretty ringlets shall not wear a queenly crown ! 

"Gentle Eileen ! beauteous Eileen ! if you ever bent a bow, 
With a true aim, quick and steady, be your shaft unerring 

now! 
Thro' the shades I'll steal upon her, while you, dark-eyed hun- 

tress ' here 
Slip the hounds,' and wing your arrows, if I miss her, with my 

spear!" 

As noiseless as a mist-wreath, thro' the shadows Mahon stole, 
While Eileen's bosom quiver'd with the tremblings of her soul ; 
The great hind raised her forehead, snufFd the air, and stared 

about, i ' > j 

As Mahon, on her red haunch, with his lifted steel leap d out. 

From her resting-place, uprushing, flew the hind, with mighty 

bounds, 
From the leash, with one shrill blood-yell, right against her 

leapt the hounds ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 321 

Like a streak of blue flame, hissing, glanced a shaft from 

Eileen's bow, 
Grazed the hind, and deeply entered the white neck of Mahon 

Roe. 

Thro' the green-wood's dark recesses, fast the red hind disap- 
peared, 

And the noble chief of Clonoon lay expiring on the sward ; 

While Eileen, bending o'er him, spoke no word, nor tore her 
hair, 

For her freezing heart was riven with the death-pangs of de- 
spair. 

Paled the rose-hue on his bright cheek, and his fading eye be- 
trayed 

How his soul in pity melted for the anguish of the maid ; 

With affectionate forgiveness did he murmur Eileen's name, 

While she shudder' d, like a willow, with the grief that tore 
her frame. 

And when the mourners gather'd, with the death-song and the 

tear, 
And the maids laid forest wild-flowers, with a heart-sob, on 

his bier ; 
Eileen, silent as a phantom, with white cheek and frigid eye, 
Moved among the lonely wailers, without murmur, tear, or 

sigh. 

And when the dust lay o'er him in the bed which knows no 

dream, 
All his lonely paths she haunted, by wild hill and sounding 

stream ; 
And her sered soul hugg'd its anguish, with a death-grasp 

strong and deep — 
Oft in prayer she pour'd her sorrow, but was never known to 

weep. 

And the bright days of the Spring-time, in their beauty stole 
along, 

With their wealth of vernal sweetness, and their gushing sun 
and song, 

Till the yellow stains of autumn on the misty landscape lay, 

And the meadow-lawns were honied with the breath of new- 
mown hay. 

And Eileen knew her death-hour, for a sister-spirit stole 
From the shining fields of heaven, with a message to her soul ; 
And she sought, when evening crimson'd dusky moor and river 

side, 
The blood-spot in the desert where her noble Mahon died. , 



322 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Down she lay beneath a hazel where his dying head was laid, 
Her heart unchained its sorrow, and she wildly wept and 

pray'd ; 
Weirdly, on her spirit-features, gleam'd the red light of the 

west, 
And the yellow boughs above her dropp'd their sere leaves on 

her breast. 

Slowly throbb'd her cold heart-pulses, and her fever'd ravings 

drew 
Wildest images of beauty, to her dreaming fancy new ; 
And she saw young Mahon o'er her, in a diamond cloud of light, 
Breathing words, like fairy love-songs, in the moonlight calm 

of night. 

Pass'd the glory from her vision, and a dense, dull, darkening 

chill 
Lock'd her senses in its ice-grip, and the vital pulse stood still ; 
With a breath her white lips parted, with that breath, her grief 

is o'er — 
Earth hath one breaking heart the less, and heaven one angel 

more. 



A VISION OF THE BATTLE OF TOR-CONAINN.* 
a.m. 3066. 

'Twas midnight, — and the ghostly blast 

Swept the frosty woods, with a cadence sharp, 
Like some Spirit-bard of the shadowy Past, 

Touching the wires of a regal harp. 
Long time I listened — for I love the croon 

Of the wintry squalls, in the wood's dark arch, 
Like a band of Spirits, to some mystic tune, 

Passing along on their gloomy march. 

Sleep seal'd my eyes, — and my soul walked forth 

To the vision-realm of airy things ; 
And methought I traversed the cloudy North, 

In the days of the great Nemedian kings : 

* The Nemedians and Fomorians were the first races that fought for 
mastery in Ireland. The Fomorians, after several defeats, succeeded in 
bringing the Nemedians under their yoke ; the latter made a desperate hut 
fruitless struggle to free themselves. The last and most terrific battle of 
these contending tribes was fought at a place called Tor-Conainn, on the 
coast of Donegal, where the tide, flowing in on the combatants during the 
heat of the action, drowned almost all that the sword spared of both armies. 
Only thirty-three of the Nemedians escaped, and abandoned the country in 
a sloop. The remnant of the Fomorians swam to their shipping, and became 
masters of the Island. Some annalists say they were African pirates. The 
Giant's Causeway was called by the ancient Irish " Cloghanna Fomharigh," 
i.e., the stepping-stones of the Fomorians. 

Mr. Aubrey de Vere, in his " Lyrical Chronicle of Ireland," gives a very 
vigorous but short poem on this remarkable engagement. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 323 

And I saw those huge men, of gigantic might, 
, To whom the pale sons of these clays of tears, 
Are as shrubs, compared to the bulk and height 
Of the kingly elms of a hundred years. 

Like the brown-plumed chiefs of the aerial race, 

They gazed at the sun, with unwinking eyes ; 
Their shaggy robes were the spoils of the chase, 

And they spoke like the waves when the winds arise. 
The oak and the pine from the woods they tore, 

And built great houses of rough-hewn beams ; 
Huge clubs and maces in battle they bore, 

And their eye-balls, like suns, seem'd to swim in flames. 

But another race to the Island came — 

A race of Sea-Kings, as fierce as sharks — 
From the arid land of the sands of flame, 

They rode the green seas in a hundred barks. 
Dread pirates, of mountain-strength, were they : 

Their voices were rude as a cascade's roar : 
Their bones were like crags by the cliff-rimm'd sea, 

And their beards, like bristles of the fierce wild boar. 

Fomorians, those pine-like chiefs were named, 

In the misty annals of Eire's lore : 
Oppression and death were at once proclaimed, 

By their ruthless deeds, when they gained the shore. 
They robb'd the Nemedians of corn and kine, 

And burn'd their houses, and tax'd their ground j 
They ravish' d the women, and left the black sign 

Of ruin and crime on the plains around. 

In the land there was fearful rage and hate 

Between the races — 'tis still the same ; — 
Remorseless plunder and sore defeat, 

Steel-handed injustice and blood-brow'd shame. 
Ne'er, in the Island of Eire, met foes 

More ferocious in spirit, and deed, and thought : 
Red rapine walked naked — mad wars arose — 

And fierce, savage battles were daily fought. 

Till, at length, Nemedius, the king, grew weak 

As a dwindling stream, when the fiery sky 
Drinks up the blue currents of well and lake, 

And leaves the white bed of the fountain dry : 
Then he stole to the forest of Olean Ard, 

With two thousand followers, women and men, 
And he died of the sickness of grief, on the hard, 

Cold, sterile rocks of the Giant's Glen. 

But his furious sons muster'd all their bands 
Into one great army, at dead of night ; 



324 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And they braced their bucklers and edged their brands, 
To meet their oppressors in manly fight : 

And their leaders were Boetagh and Fatach, grim 
As hungry bears in a blasted wood ; 

Earglan and Mantan, mighty of limb, 
Of cliff- like stature and lightning-blood ! 

Their arms were as the strong pillars of flint, 

Round the dark north shore, by the scourging brine ; 
And they wielded spears of enormous length, 

Like the branchless shafts of the fire-scorched pine. 
They camp'd all night by the white sea- wave, 

Thirty thousand, along the strand, 

And heaven was their tent, and their couch the sand— 
The sand which soon was to be their grave. 

Large oaken trees from the inland wood 

They brought and piled by the ocean-flood ; 

And all night, like volcanoes flaming red, 

The blaze of those burning piles was shed 
On the lurid plumes of the surges gray, 

That dirged on the glimmering shore ; 
'Till the star-gloom began to melt away, 
And the misty streak of the coming day 

Appear'd thro' the^vapours hoar. 

Then up they leapt from their warrior-rest, 

Like waves awaked by a sudden storm ; 
For the wild Fomorians strongly press'd 

Down on them, as thick as a locust-swarm. 
And the whirlwind-hum of the multitude 

Was like the unearthly tone 
Of a sullen blast in a wintry wood, 
When, from the blue skirts of a freezing cloud, 

It bursts, with a spectral moan. 
Like wailing spirits, with deep, hoarse shriek, 

The waves peal'd awfully in and out ; 
As keeners, at some high chieftain's wake, » 

Sing ajdirge the great dead about ; 
While dim, in the cold dawn's dark-red glance, 

The heads of each monster host, 
In gloomy, .swaying masses advance, 

As thick as the pebbles that whirl and dance, 

When a wave rakes the sounding coast. 
The murmur ceased, and a stillness, dread, 

For .an instant, fell on the waving crowds ; 
Then a sudden shout, that might rouse the dead 
From a century's sleep in their grass-pall'd bed, 

Leapt up to the flying clouds. 
Then the dark -brown shore, with the mighty roar 

Of the combat, rock'd, like a trembling board, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 325 

As crashingly rang the tumultuous clang 

Of mace and javelin, spear and sword. 
The resounding clash was like the dash 

Of breakers upon some huge cliff's hack, 
Or some drifting bark, in the wintry dark, 

When she strikes on a dread reef, a bursting wreck; 
And the quick, shrill peal of the stricken shields, 

With the stormy shouts of the slayers rose, 
Like the ring of the ice, in the thawing fields, 

When the gusty south-wind raves and blows. 
'Twas a battle of lions, for every man 

Like a lion fought, and the sea-board wild 
With a burning billow of purple ran, 

And the slain fell around, like great pine- trunks piled. 
Each blow, like the might of a thunder-stroke, 

With electric swiftness, dealt instant death ; 
And bodies were sunder'd, and stout limbs broke, 

Like dry shrubs wrench'd by a whirlwind's breath. 
The waves leapt in on the redden'd coast, 

And tinged their gray sheets, with a ruddy stain ; 
The osprey scream'd, like an evil ghost, 

As he hover'd and hunger'd above the slain ; 
While the wrathful death-crash, upon the strand, 

In roaring turmoil surged up and down, 
Thousands of mad giants, hand to hand, 

Grappling and severing nerve and bone. 
And fast they fell, like towers o'erthrown, 

With their tall brows riven and broad breasts bare ; 
While around them, in cloudy masses strown, 

Lay their blood-stained clusters of long, black hair. 
They fought from dawn, till the yellow noon 

In the bright, blue zenith pour'd its golden fire ; 
Then, like volcanic clouds from the sea-side blown, 
When the shore with terrific wreck was strown, 
The Fomorians, wasted and feeble grown, 

To the woods began to retire. 
From thousands to hundreds their host was thinn'd, 

And they flew, like elks, to the forest-maze ; 
But the wild Nemedians, from end to end, 
Surrounded the place where their foes were denn'd ; 
Each kindled a name, like a raging fiend, 

And set the dark woods in a blaze. 

But a cry rang up from the corpse-piled shore, 
And they turn'd their eyes to the gleaming sea, 

Where they saw a hundred barks, and more, 

With their white wings skimming the blue brine o'er, 
Towards the red coast cleaving their way. 

"Tis the fleet of More !" cried Briotan Moal, 
" With his armed pirates, from Afric's land ! 

Now, brothers, and brave Nemedians all, 



326 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND 

Like hurricane-fire on the robbers fall, 

If they touch our Island -strand !" 
Back again to the blood-dyed coast, 
Embodied, roll'd the Nemedian host, 
As the ships swam into Tor Inis' bay, 
Like snow-clouds drifting along the sea. 

The Fomorians saw the wide beach lined 

With their fallen kinsmen, all stark and dead ; 
They gnash'd their teeth — and the ocean-wind 

Was loaded with yellings of vengeance dread. 
Like pillars of bronze, the Nemedians stood 

On the reeking verge of the purple main, 
And fierce, o'er the dash of the dancing flood, 

They yelled their battle-whoop back again. 

The ships hove in to the bay's brown rim ; 

A host filled the decks, with unfolded flags ; 
From the shelving shore the Nemedians tore, 

And hurl'd at the vessels the broken crags. 
Roar'd bulwarks and masts, with the flinty shower, — 

Shatter'd and riven were plank and spar, 
While the whirling rocks, with destructive power, 

Like thunder-bolts, batter'd that fleet of war. 
Into the surf the Fomorians plunged, 

With wrathful ho wrings, and rush'd to land ; 
At their bold foes' bosoms their spears were lunged, 

As madly they leapt to the crowded strand. 
But fierce and furious — as from each ship, 

Like a headlong billow, the host dash'd in — 
Did the lightning-handed Nemedians sweep 

The invaders back to the waves again. 

Hast thou seen a cloud of the Wind-God's wrath 

Gathering its gloom on the hill's blue brow ? 
Hast thou heard the fire-fiend proclaiming death, 

From that cloud's black throne, to the woods below 
Hast thou heard, in the glen, on a stormy night, 

How the torrent-surge shrieks in its boiling bed ? 
So mingled the din of the thickening fight — 

So the surge of death o'er the broad beach spread. 
Fast as polar hail smites the echoing vale, 

Spears, massive clubs, and huge rocks were plied, 
'Till the land-breeze bore from the pealing shore 

A blood-mist, rolling along the tide. 
Not a soul in the empty ships remain'd — 

All leapt to the throng' d coast, weapon in hand, 
Where the raging battle-hurricane rain'd 

Its smoking showers on the gore-bray' d sand, 
And the slain giants lay by the red-fringed sea, 

Like the tangled mass of a prostrate wood, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 327 

Flung down by the sway of an earthquake's play, 

Or the ravaging might of a desperate flood. 
Still the war surged on, with a demon-roar 

That deafen' d the sea-billows' deep-hoarse ring ; 
And the swooping prey-birds, that snuff 'd the gore, 

Fled, frighten 'd away, on the fleetest wing. 
The Nemedian women from the plains rush'd down — 

Their large eyes glowing with fiery light ; 
Their long hair sweeping their shoulders brown, 

And strong yew-bows in their hands grasp'd tight : 
On the tall Fomorians their arrows swept, 

Like a flashing torrent of lightning-flames, 
And the giants, like gall'd wolves, f oam'd and leapt 

As the barb'd shafts rooted their bleeding frames. 
Nor could the Nemedians force their foes 

Back into the gulf of the reddening main ; 
Nor could the Fomorians, by wounds or blows 

One foot of the crimson'd sea-board gain. 
Still they tore the crags from their flinty roots, 

And crush'd each other to the beaten ground, 
While their mighty roars, like furious brutes, 

Made the echoes rattle and shriek around. 

The sun to the west wheel'd his ring of fire — 

In foam, blood-purpled, the sea rose strong : 
The fight grew fiercer — the tide swell'd higher — 

Swinging the dead on its surge along. 
The hungry monsters of the sea, 

Plunged into the beach for the feast of blood, 
And they dragg'd the floating corpses away 

Out into the depths of the heaving flood. 
Round the feet of the slayers the tide boil'd red, 

But the tide no check to the combat brought ; 
Deeper and wider the wild flood spread, 

Faster and fiercer the armies fought. 
Deadly and dire was the desperate crash 

Of the maniac-hosts 'mid the sea's mad swell; 
Rapid and hoarse was the sounding splash 

Of the bodies that thick in the blood-surge fell. 
Higher and higher, the sweeping main, 

Flung its headlong might 'mid the reckless fray ; 
And the waves, as if chafing with fierce disdain, 

In the warriors eyes spat the gore-stained spray. 
Crowds lock'd in each other's death-grips fall, 

Immersed in the gloom of their cold sea-beds, 
While the dark-red foam, like a mighty pall, 

Hiss'd, quiver'd, and boil'd o'er their sinking heads ; 
'Till each billow, returning from its charge, 

Swept off, by hundreds, the drowning throng ; 
And the sharks o'er the surf show'd their green backs large, 

As they greedily feasted the coast along. 



328 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Few and feeble, alas ! were they, 

That survived the wreck of the tide and sword 
The Nemedians, seaward, drifted away, 

In a pirate-sloop — thirty-three on board — 
The wearied Fomorians, fifty-four, 

Swam to their ships in the dark-blue bay ; 
And they, sorrowing, sail'd round the Island-shore, 

At the sunset-hour of that stormy day. 
Never was human life-blood poured, 

In such vengeful torrents, on flood or field ; 
Never in battle did spear or sword 

A deadlier harvest of carnage yield. 
Dire was the wrath of those ancient races — 

Eire was the prize of the conquerors' toil — 
Long time has old tribes for the new changed places, 

With a blood-curse red on her rich, green soil. 



THE FATAL ENSIGN. 

A LEGEND OF THE BATTLE OF CLONTARF. 
PART I. 

By a moss-cover'd cromleach, weird Aidina* stood, 
Near the fern-fringed bed of a wild mountain-flood : 
She came there a dread incantation to weave, 
When the green meteors glared o'er the Druid's dark grave. 

The face of the valley was dreary and bleak, 
And the lonely moon gleam'd on the hill's dusky peak, 
W T here a sombre cloud hung, like a giant's black plume, 
With the unborn lightning asleep in its gloom. 

And there, from the mystical lore of the dead, 

The fast- coming doom of the living she read ; 

For the Vikings had taught her their magical power, 

To commune with the spectres that walk the night-hour. 

'Twas a calm, yellow night, — and the stars look'd as grand 
As the diamonds of God in an Archangel's hand, — 
Yet the Sibyl's deep fate-reading vision beheld 
Red omens of blood o'er Moynealta's dark field. t 

But Sigurd, her son, sought the vale, dim and deep, 
When the white midnight-haze on the plain lay asleep ; 
And he said : " Let the weird face of fate be unveil'd, 
To tell if I'll conquer or fall in the field !" 

* The Niala Saga, or Norse account of the battle of Clontarf, says that 
Audna, or Aidina, the mother of Sigurd, the Viking Chief, was an Irish 
Princess, and a great adept in the practice of magic. The fatal Ensign was 
woven by her and presented to her son, with a prophecy that he would 
conquer wherever it was carried before him ; but it would be fatal to the 
bearer. On its field was the form of a raven with expanded wings. 
Clontarf. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 329 

Then she cast on the warrior her blue, fairy eyes, 
Which gleam'd like the light of the misty night-skies, 
And* answered : "My sea-hawk, I nursed you too long, 
If you fall not in fight while your manhood is strong ! 

"There are ghosts of slain warriors in Odin's red hall, 
Who, younger than thou, in the field met their fall ; 
If thou would'st to that cloudy Valhalla aspire, 
Let thy life be as glorious and transient as fire ! 

" 'Tis the Fates, not the dangers, that wait on the brave ! — 
And the wail of the blast, o'er a young hero's grave, 
Is sweeter to me, in its hoarse midnight rage, 
Than the voice of a king in the time of his age ! 

"But sit thee, my war-eagle ! here on the heath, 
Till I bring thee a gift from the shadows of death, 
Before whose enchantment thy foes shall be driven, 
Like mists, when the Wind-God is marching thro' heaven!" 

She advanced to the gloom-circled crest of the hill, 
Where a black bank of vapour lay densely and still ; 
And her form melted into its deep, ghastly womb, 
Like a dim spectral-shade gliding into a tomb. 

Sigurd sat on the trunk of a gray, wither'd oak, 
By the tempest's strong arm uprooted and broke ; 
At his feet was the sound of the stream's gloomy roll, 
O'er his head was the shriek of the desolate owl. 

And he heard, all around, in the dull moonlight air, 
Pensive sounds, as if spirits were murmuring there, 
While something above him seem'd dark'ning the ground, 
As if black- winged shadows were hovering around. 

But was it the voice of some cloud-demon stern, 
Or the wing of the night- wind that rustled the fern, 
And shook on the hill- side the brown-matted brier, 
Where the lightning imprinted its footstep of fire ? 

No, the motionless boughs hang unstirr'd o'er his head, 
And the leaves are as hush'd as if nature lay dead ; 
On heaven's blue highway, no cloud has unfurl' d 
Its banner of gloom o'er the calm, dreaming world. 

Yet he heard lonely sounds, like the fluttering of birds, 
And low, solemn whispering of mystical words; 
And the wither'd leaves shriek'd on the floor of the wood, 
As if crush'd by the feet of a fugitive crowd. 

The chieftain look'd up towards the hill's rocky cape, 
Where the black mist was changed to a huge raven-shape, 
22 



330 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

With a star glaring red thro' its broad wing of haze, 

As if blood-rain dropp'd thick from the points of its rays.* 

And he saw his weird mother, revealed by its light, 
Like a dread spirit-queen on the crag's dusky height ; 
She seem'd on the cloud's sable border upraised, 
Round her feet the green meteors shifted and blazed. 

And the mist, moved aside by the restless night-air, 
Show'd dim, awful figures of death round her there ; 
But scarcely their cold, dismal features were seen, 
When the cloud closed its skirts and concealed them again. 

The white planet of dawn in the gray orient burn'd, 
Ere the lonely enchantress to Sigurd return'd : 
From the hill's dingy summit she slowly came down, 
When the young day-beam purpled its heath-circled crown. 

Her eye shone, like ice in the moon's waning light,' 
And her loose hair was gemm'd with the spangles of night, 
And her foot touch'd the sward with as airy a tread, 
As the shadowy step of the wind-borne dead. 

A banner of-rich, brilliant texture she held, 
With the form of a raven inwrought on its field, 
And a fringe like the dyes of the sunbow of morn, 
When round its bright crescent the rain-scud hangs torn. 

" Take this Ensign !" she cried, " noble Sigurd, my son ! 
Its warp by the rulers of darkness was spun ; 
And 'twas woven at midnight, in destiny's loom, 
By hands that delight to assist in men's doom ! 

"Thou'lt conquer wherever before thee 'twill fly, 
But those who shall bear it are destined to die ; 
Then away to the combat — the raven's black wings 
Shall flutter in. blood o'er the corpses of kings !" 

;part II. 
To the strife of the mighty the Viking Chief bore him, 
While his spell-woven banner flew proudly before him ; 
And he plunged thro' the fight, like a shark 'mid the flood, 
When the ocean is singing the war-songs of God. 

* This was a sign of the terrific bloodshed which was soon to follow at 
Clontarf. Malachy the Second, who withdrew his 1,000 Meathmen from 
Morogh, at the commencement of the fight, said that an angel from heaven 
could not describe the terrors of that field ; " for," said he, " the fury of the 
combatants was so great, and their blows so mighty, that the whole field 
soon became enveloped with a dense haze of blood, and the swords and war- 
axes were seen to glimmer and quiver above the red cloud, like the white 
wings of an enormous flock of sea-birds fluttering in the air ; and the dark- 
ness was so intense that the friend could not know his friend, nor the brother 
his brother, nor the father his son, except by their voices or the place where 
they stood ; and the long hair of the chiefs, cut off by the sharp weapons, 
was carried to a great distance, on the wings of the wind. And they fought 
from sunrise to sunset, and many who escaped the battle became lunatic, 
and never recovered their reason." 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



331 



Thrp' his ringed mail the javelins sought entrance in vain, 
It shatter'd their points as the crag breaks the rain ! 
While, fast as the snow-flakes descend on the sward 
Death strangled a life at each stroke of his sword. 

But the Ensign has sunk in its glorious career, 
For its bearer lies gasping, transfixt with a spear ; 
And the chief has commission' d another to lift 
And carry the Flag thro' the battle's red drift. 

Twas bravely upborne — a moment 'twas seen 
O'er the wave of the war, when it sank down again, 
And the soldier that raised it, beside it lay dead, 
By the stroke of a battle-axe cleft through the head. 

Fierce Sigurd glared round thro' the wild, surging throng, 
And he called upon Upac, the stately and strong : 
"Take the banner !" he cried, but 'twas scarce in his hand, 
When the blood of his brave heart was drank by a brand. 

Then Ircus, the steel-handed, strode o'er the slain, 

And uplifted the Ensign of death from the plain : 

No sooner in air were its folds seen to float, 

Than a poison'd dart plunged, like a snake, in his throat. 

Then Torstein, the swarthy-brow'd son of the seas, 
Flung the magical folds of the Flag to the breeze, 
And he bore it triumphantly on thro' the din 
Of the battle- cloud, raining the life-blood of men. 

And Sigurd's strong steel struck the reeling chiefs down, 
As the plague-spirit smites the pale sons of the town ; 
Or, as yellow October's bleak, northern gale 
Tears the perishing leaves from the boughs of the vale. 

A plumed head went down at each thrust of his spear, 
And the shout of his fury was dreadful to hear, 
As thro' the deep front of the phalanx he broke, 
Like fire bursting red thro' a column of smoke. 

The brave Kerthalfadus,* with vengeance, survey'd 
The wreck which the prowess of grim Sigurd made, 
And he press'd to the centre where, hotly engaged, 
Round the banner of ruin the war-furies raged. 

Before him his shield, like the broad setting sun, 

He held, as to check the dread warrior he ran, 

But a blood-mist arountf his dimm'd sight seem'd to grow, 

Concealing the iron-clad form of his foe. 

* The Chronicles of Denmark and Ireland agree in stating that many of 
the Danes, inspired with admiration for the ennobling qualities and virtues 
of King Brian, fought on his tide against their countrymen at Clontarf . 



332 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Yet his long- shafted lance cleft the heart of Torstein, 
And the standard once more lay o'erthrown on the plain, 
And the sheen of its folds was with purple dyes stain' d, 
From the blood-shower that o'er it tempestuously rain'd. 

" Come hither, brave Rufus ! thou hawk of the field !" 
Cried Sigurd, indignantly striking his shield ; 
" Lift my proud raven Flag o'er the cloud of the fray, 
That thy name may be heard in Valhalla to-day !" 

But Armund, the tall, red-hair'd chief of Dunnair, 
Spoke aloud to the warrior, * * Rufus, beware! 
" If thou bear'st that banner, thou'lt perish, for all 
Who are fated to bear it, are destined to fall !" 

As the hero ceased speaking, a mighty spear flew 
On his corslet of iron and clove it in two, 
And he fell on the sward, with his stout bosom sever' d, 
Like the ash of the hill by a thunder- stroke shiver' d. 

Then Rufus said fiercely to Sigurd, in wrath, 
"The demons of bloodshed are loosed on thy path, 
And the Fates round thy curst Flag, are grimly in league, 
So 'tis meet that thy own hand should carry thy plague !" 

Grim Sigurd glared furiously round on the van, 
And he called on his Viking troops, man after man, 
To carry the banner, but all were dismay'd, 
And none the command of the chieftain obey'd. 

Then he struck his red spear in the blood-moisten'd clay, 

And tore from the staff the dread ensign away ; 

He wrapt it his garment of iron inside, 

And advanced on the foe, in the fire of his pride. 

But a stone from the sling of some strong son of war, 
Forced its death-pointed way thro' h s visor's steel bar ; 
It enter'd, and shatter' d the dome of his brain, 
And laid the proud Viking chief dead on the plain. 

Bold Rufus sprang forth to the spot where he lay, 
And uplifted the warrior to bear him away, 
But scarce had he turn'd, with the corpse to depart, 
When he felt the cold sting of a lance in his heart. 

Death shadow'd the soul-ray of life on his face, 
And he sank, with the corpse in his freezing embrace ; 
Thus, all who approach'd the dread Ensign were killed, 
And the words of the Sibyl were darkly fulfilled. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



333 



THE WATER SPIRIT. 

A LEGEND OF CASTLE-CONNELL. 

On the fringe of the fern the moonbeam is yellow- 
On the shore's dusky marge droops the gray-tassel'd willow 
From the bank's misty verdure the tide is retreating, 
Where young Donal Bhan for his sweetheart is waiting- 
No breath the blue sheen of the river has ruffled ; 
No cloud the brown head of the mountain has muffled 
No sound the dim face of the landscape floats over, 
Save the shrill, airy note of the lone moorland plover. 

The night-flies are out on their silvery winglets, 

Playing round the green herbs and the flowers' dewy ringlets 

Pale trembled the stars in the deep sapphire heaven, 

Like groups of white blossoms by May-zephyrs waven. 

O'er the field the gray veil of the weeping dew hover'd, 

'Till the dank grass with thick crystal fragments was covered, 

And the wood in calm, shadowy grandeur was lying, 

As mute as a harp when its minstrel is dying. 

Up and down paced the youth on the moonlight bank airy, 

He linger'd and watch'd till his spirit grew weary ; 

The moon stole her splendour away from the valley, 

And he must go home without greeting his Eily. 

But a sound thrills the air, and he pauses to listen, 

Near the hedge of wild brier where the thorn-flowers glisten— 

'Tis gone— yet again his young heart-pulses quiver, 

As the rising sound swells and rolls up from the river. 

Around him a gush of wild music 'rose, flowing 
In rich waves of harmony, coming and going, 
Note after note, with deep breathings of sweetness, 
Rush'd into his spirit, with passionate fleetness. • 
As one in a dream hears the Fairy-choir singing, # 

Where the snow-bosom' d buds of the woodland are springing, 
Thus his senses, enraptur'd, grew madden'd with pleasure, 
And he danced, in wild joy, to the full-swelling measure. 

While for some rosy partner his bosom was yearning, 
To dance to those wild, magic numbers 'till morning, 
A light, floating shade in the moonbeam pass'd o'er him, 
And a lady sprang up, like a white cloud, before him : 
From the stream to the bank's dewy slope she ascended, 
And her pale, azure hand to the youth she extended ; 
He felt it as something 'twixt substance and shadow, 
Like a "cean-a-bhan" moist with the dews of the meadow. 

Autumn's gossamer-mist on a lake-shore reposing, 
When the pale, yellow curtain of twilight is closing ; 
A star's trembling glance on the ridge of a billow — 
The light, airy sway of the zephyr-rock'd willow; 



334 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The dim, ghostly brow of November's moon waning, 
When midnight's gray cloud on the lone field is raining, 
Are types of her strange spirit-beauty and bearing — 
Her face, and the chill, hazy robe she was wearing. 

Donal look'd on her face, with a feeling of coldness, 

That damp'd the hot flame of his ardour and boldness, 

For her lip, cheek, and brow hath a winding-sheet's whiteness, 

And her eyes the weird glow of the bog-meteor's brightness. 

But her step, in the dance, was so light and elastic, 

She floated around, like a shadow majestic ; 

And he mark'd, o'er the dew, her white feet glance and quiver, 

Like the foam-wreaths that leap down the Falls of the river. 

As the youth, in the flying maze, pass'd and repass'd her, 

His blood leapt in fire, and his pulses beat faster; 

The swell of the music grew richer and sweeter, 

And the feet of the dancers flew lighter and fleeter. 

Their steps on the pearly sward, humid and hazy, 

Circled on, for an hour, over grass-blade and daisy, 

'Till the moon, in the west, like a white flower, descended, 

And the farm-cock proclaim'd that night's journey was ended. 

Into deep silence melted the numbers enchanted, 
And the pale-bosom' d stream in the breathing dawn panted; 
Like a thin airy shade, o'er the waters blue-sheeted, 
Thro' the dim river's cold fog, the white lady fleeted ; 
And Donal sank down, 'mid the dawn's fairy stillness, 
With his tired limbs, like icicles, stricken with dullness 
And there, while the morning-birds warbled around him, 
The young milking-maids, in a frozen trance found him. 

And Eily, with tears in her beauteous eyes welling, 
Has gone o'er the hills to a weird woman's dwelling, 
Who, fearing the priest, to a lone glen retreated, 
And for years the strong power of the Fairies defeated. 
The red-eyed witch heard the maid's story, and turn'd 
To a dell, where the fern by lightning was burned ; 
There she cypher'd some spell on the moss of the heather, 
With the blood of an owl and a hill-raven's feather. 

Then she said, in low words, to the maiden repining, 

" Come here the first night, when the new moon is shining, 

Alone, you must shun the broad track of the highway, 

And come by the brier-skirted path of the by-way. 

I tell you a fact — but let nobody hear it — 

Your lover has danced with a grim Water Spirit ; 

But the charm is set by my skill to restore him, 

And chase the deep gloom of the spell that lies o'er him !" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



335 



EITHNE'S VISION.* 

When April, the dewy-eyed bridesmaid of May, 
Renew'd the sweet verdure of forest and field, 

And the flowers, from their green hoods, look'd out in the ray 
That pencilTd their dyes and their beauties unveil'd ; 

Young Eithne arose from her white couch of dreams, 
While the spring-dew yet wept on the leaves of the lawn, 

And the slumb'rous glory of day's infant beams 
Crept over the roseate threshold of dawn. 

But the loveliest ray that from morning's fount springs, 
Could not peer the sweet light of her eye's glowing spell; 

And her locks roll'd, a rich tangled mass of gold rings, 
Round her cheek, like the rose-tinge that lines the sea-shell. 

Never before hath the visions of night 
To her couch, with such wild spirit-harmony, stole ; 

Never before did they show such a bright, 
Regal image of love to the eyes of her soul. 

For she dreamt that she saw, near the marge of a spring, 
Whose cool ripples freshen'd the heart of the wood, 

A bright-featured youth who appear'd like a king 
Of Heber's proud lineage, or Heremon's high blood. 

And, near him, there grew on a moss-shaded mound 
A tree whose high foliage to heaven was raised, 

And richly, on all its long branches around, 

Beaming clusters of jewels, like summer-stars, blazed. 

Delighted in spirit, the maiden look'd on 

The glorious-brow'd youth who stood under the tree, 
While the diamonds dropp'd down at his feet, one by one, 

Like red meteor-sparks falling into the sea. 

He gather'd the treasure that flash'd on the ground, 
And advanced to fair Eithne, with love-lighted eyes ; 

And he hung every gem on her garment around, 
Till it gleam'd, like the bow of show'ry May-skies. 

Then he kiss'd the soft, delicate snow of her hand, 
Which, pulse to pulse, lovingly thrill'd in his own ; 

And he led her away, where a garden, all grand, 
Like the bright Land of Youth, in its radiancy shone. 

As the wind stirs an apple-tree's white cloud of bloom, 
She felt his sweet voice all her bosom chords move ; 

" Virgin daughter of Dunluing ! here is thy home, 
If thou'lt give me the soul-treasur'd boon of thy love ! 

* The readers of Irish history must be well acquainted with the romantic 
incident illustrated in the above Poem. 




336 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

So o'erpower'd was her heart with the glory that grew, 
Enchanting and dazzling her brain and her sight, 

Her spirit dissolved, like a white cloud of dew, 
And she sat, 'mid the roses, and wept with delight. 

The sun, like a large ruby, peer'd in the East, 
While Eithne review'd the romance of her dream, 

And, wild as a white billow, heaved her young breast 
Like a lake-lily rock'd by the pulse of the stream. 

For, around her, instead of a garden of light — 
With the sun-painted tints of its blossomy sheen, 

And the proud youth who seem'd like a god in her sight — 
Were the walls of her shieling, so humble and mean. 

With a heart-sigh she turned from her lattice aside, 
And carelessly flung on her plain peasant-gown ; 

"And, alas! where are all the rich jewels," she cried, 
" Which on this poor robe, but an hour ago, shone?" 

Like a seraph in marble, so beauteously pale, 
She bound up her bright curls, ring after ring, 

Then hastily snatching her white milking pail, 
Like a sun-ray, she flew to the cool forest-spring. 

For her spirit still kept the loved vision in view, 
Like the flower that looks after the glory of day ; 

And while, by the fence of wild rose-brier she flew, 
She pull'd the young blossoms that glow'd in her way. 

The morning had given the night's dingy shroud, 

On the mountain's blue shoulder, its first yellow dye ; 

And the lark, 'mid the pale-floating rings of the cloud, 
Warbled sweet as a fairy harp touch'd in the sky. 

The risen sun shower'd his red shafts on the ground, 
And the spring wind's fresh breathing was heard in the trees ; 

And the wood's dewy vistas grew musical round, 

With the sigh of young leaves and the hum of wild bees. 

And Eithne long mused by the blue-shining well, 
With her large eyes' dark fringes half-shading their beam, 

While a pearl from their depths on her lily-hand fell, 
As she sweetly look'd round on the scene of her dream. 

She fill'd her white pail from the heart of the fount, — 
We*nt home and return'd, and fill'd it again ; 

But still, as if dreaming, she paused to recount 
The glories she saw in her sleep's phantom-scene. 

A tree on the bank of the spring-brooklet grew, 
Like that which appear'd in the charm of her sleep ; 

Its foliage was glistening with crystals of dew, 
And its calm, golden shadow around it lay deep. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 337 

This tree, with a mixt look of pleasure and grief, 

Her dark eye, a thousand times, scann'd and survey'd, 

'Till her glance seem'd to conjure a glorious young chief, 
From the green leafy hall of its calm vernal shade. 

With a smile like a flower, and an eye like the glance 
Of a perch'd eagle fixt on the sun's zenith blaze, 

He stood out before her, as straight as a lance, 
While her heart's living current was thrill'd with amaze. 

Is this the magnificent phantom she saw 
In the vision of beauty that haunted her sleep ? 

Are those the soft eyes that dictated love's law 

To her heart, and first taught her in rapture to weep ? 

'Tis no shadowy creation of vision or dream, 
That now has appeared to her soul-glow r ing eyes, 

But Tara's high ruler — the brilliant in fame — 
King Cormac the splendid, the mighty and wise. 

That morning, while chasing the air-footed roe, 

To this spot, from the band of the huntsmen, he strayed, 

And saw radiant Eithne's fair image of snow 
Bending o'er the blue well in the cool forest-shade. 

Unobserved, in the gloom of a sycamore bower, 

With mute admiration he gazed on the fair, 
While his charm'd soul ask'd how so beauteous a flower 

Had grown, to adorn the desert-wilds there ? 

He watch'd her, and, every moment, he felt 

A new ray of her loveliness steal to his soul, 
And her sweetness seem'd into his heart-veins to melt, 

Like honey dissolved in a bright golden bowl. 

He woo'd her, and soon was the lord of her heart ; 

A rich, queenly bride, to high Tara she's gone ; 
And long did the proud-born Cormac Mac Art, 

With the peerless Eithne share his love and his throne. 



THE MURDERED PRINCE. 

A HISTORICAL LEGEND OF THE HOUSE OF THOMOND. 

Princely Donogh* fled, defeated, from Bunratty's plain of 

death, 
O'er the dark hills of Hy Caisin and their gloomy wastes of 

heath ; 

» Donogh O'Brien, the hero of the above tragic poem, was crowned' King 
of Thomond, a. d., 1306. He was the eldest son of Torlogh the Warlike, in 
whose reign the De Clares got possession of Bunratty. The assassin who 



338 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

But when he reach'd, at night-fall, the blue valley of the 

streams, 
The heavens wax'd red above him, for his palace was in 

flames. 

At morn he led his army to the field, in banded pride ; 

At night of all his warriors only one was at his side ; 

And the chief was sorely wounded, for a lance, with fury 

thrown, 
In the blazing crash of battle, pierced his strong thigh to the 

bone. 

Sadly gazed he for a moment on the red, o'erhanging cloud, 

Beneath whose fiery shadow the destroyers shouted loud ; 

Then he feebly knelt, and, sighing, with the anguish of 
despair, 

Bow'd his head and raised his lock'd hands in deep, passion- 
breathed prayer : — 

"JHoly God ! who raiseth the humble and casteth down the 

proud ! 
Oh ! save me from the vengeance which my cruel foes have 

vow'd ! 
In thy mercy and compassion, turn thine eyes on my distress ! 
Thou art the right Avenger and the source of true redress ! 

" Send the angel of thy pity to a fallen prince to-night! 

Do, God of strength, whatever in thy holy eyes seems 

right ! 
Like a dreary wreck deserted, on a wild, surrounding sea, 
I am sinking, — Blessed Maker, reach thy saving hand to me!" 

Slowly 'rose the sorrowing chieftain, and he call'd his clansman 

near, 
As he propp'd his drooping figure on the strong shaft of his 



"Bind my wound, oh, faithful Munchin ! surely God hath not 

denied 
His succour to the fallen, when He sent thee to my side !" 

The clansman pluck'd some green herbs, with the drops of 

heaven fresh, 
And applied their soothing virtues to the torture-torn flesh ; 
Then he stripp'd the silken linen from his cochal's shaggy hem, 
And, with care, he gently bound it round the chieftain's 

wounded limb. 

basely deprived him of life, on his retreat, after his power had been de- 
stroyed at the battle of Bunratty, was a near kinsman of his own. The 
records say that this traitor fell at the battle of Tully O'Dea, two years 
after the murder of Donogh; but I prefer the tradition, as most suited to 
the purpose of the poem, which says he was killed by lightning on the very 
spot where he committed the murder. 
See a poem on the battle of Bunratty, in this yolume. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. *<>» 

"Thanks, my friend!" said the O'Brien, "for the growing 

ease I feel — 
Never did I for kind service my heart's gratitude conceal ! 
Now, go down to yonder wild dell, where the three gray 

hazels grow, 
At the angle of the furze-bank, where the curving fountains 

flow! 

There, between those slim trees, hidden, you will find my 

jewels all ; 
At the dead hour of last midnight I conveyed them from my 

hall— 
Oh ! 'tis well my household treasure has escaped the greedy 

hands 
Of black Dermod's hireling kerns, and De Clare's marauding 

bands ! 

Munchin, in my day of glory, when I sat upon my throne, 
When the splendid gifts of fortune, power, and honour were 

my own ! 
Thou wert poor, and bow'd with weakness, till I rais d thee, 

like a sword, 
To my side, and gave thee honour and distinction at my board! 

Round the wound misfortune gave thee, I a golden bandage 
tied, . 

And I trusted thy affection, tho' thy faith I never tried ! 

Now has come the hour of trial, when I yearn to find in thee 

The steady faith and friendship, which you always found in 
me! 

But, a truce to idle gossip, my brave palace is a wreck, 

And the blood-spears of the Norman may be soon upon my 

track ! 
We must turn our faces northward, and by lonely ways retire, 
For rest and sure protection, to the country of Maguire ! 

Haste! those jewels, which I mention'd, from the dell's green 

bosom bring, 
And share, if thou art willing, the sad exile of thy king; 
Thou wert my trusty favourite, in the bright days of my reign. 
And heaven may make us happy, with such joyful times, again!' 

With a light step, like a wolf-hound, to the valley Munchin 
sped, 

And he brought the sparkling treasure from the wild dell's 
mossy bed ; 

Then they turn'd their faces northward, thro' the forest * wav- 
ing arch, , 

And the lonely stars of midnight saw them far upon their 
march. 



340 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And all the night the bleak wind on their pallid faces beat, 
And the desert-thorns, like adders, stung their slow advancing 

feet; 
While the trees, like wailing giants, with a hoarse, continuous 

moan, 
Blent their million leafy voices in one ghostly monotone. 

And along their desert pathway, like a white star 'mid the 

gloom, 
From tree to tree, before them, flew a bird of flashing plume ; 
Grim and gaunt in shape and pinion, while, by turns, it 

droop'd its head, 
And murmur'd, like a mourner o'er the dark sleep of the dead. 

Toiling up a sterile hill-side, as the red dawn fringed the East, 
The tired travellers sought a ravine, and took shelter in its 

breast ; 
The chief was faint and weary, for his wound grew stiff and 

sore, 
And a fever-thirst was parching his brave heart-veins to the 

core. 

"Munchin, bring me drink !" he murmur'd, while his quick, 

retreating breath 
Scarcely help d his struggling accent, like the faint prelude of 

death, 
" Pull a bed of broom and fern, till I rest my sinking frame, 
My spirit's strength 1 is failing, and my veins are all on 

flame !" 

Munchin, in his helmet, brought cool water from the rill, 
And he pluck'd the broom and fern from the brown brow of 

the hill ; 
The chieftain drank the fresh draught, as a scorch'd plant 

drinks the dew, 
And on the fragrant heather his exhausted frame he threw. 

Slowly o'er his darkening eyelids stole a shadow, dim and 

deep, 
And his sorrows were forgotten in the breathing death of 



While dark Munchin watch'd beside him, with a quick eye 

prying round, 
'Till in the chieftain's helmet he the treasured jewels found. 

One by one, he closely view'd them with a fast, admiring gaze, 
While his stern eye, like a demon's, with fierce light began. to 

blaze ; 
What were faith, allegiance, honour, love or friendship, now 

to him? 
All vanish'd from his bosom, as he view'd each shining gem. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 341 

Ah ! the fiend of self is master of the dark thoughts of his 
heart, 

And his brow is sternly knitted, and his blue lips set apart ; 

Thrice he glared upon the sleeper, with a rigid, iron frown, 

Thrice he raised his lance to slay him, but his hand fell power- 
less down. \ 

The traitor's strong nerve shudder'd, for a wild cry, from the 

wood, 
Stay'd his raised steel and suspended the mad action of his 

blood ; 
Long he listen'd to the sad wail that return'd and died away, 
And he knew that song of sorrow came from Oebhin of 

Craiglea ! * 

She who watch'd the House of Thomond, ever chanting, in her 

tears, 
Dreary death-keens for its chieftains, thro' a thousand misty 

years ! 
Oh, mysterious, faithful spirit ! that forewarn'd them of the 

tomb, 
But thy airy hand was powerless to avert the stroke of doom ! 

"Nerveless coward!" in the traitor's ear, the jealous tempter 
cried, 

And again the sparkling beauty of the brilliant stones he 
eyed; 

And above the slumbering chieftain gleam' d the horrid lance 
again, 

Which descended, with a death-plunge, to his cleft heart's in- 
most vein. 

Dimly gliding, like a moonbeam, from the shadow of a tree, 

In the dusky, golden dawn-haze, moved the marble-brow'd 
banshee, 

And the white rings of her long hair, like a floating cloud of 
snow, 

Roll'd along her bending shoulders to her misty feet below. 

With a brow as white and icy as the cold brow of the dead, 
She gazed at the assassin till his black heart sank, like lead ; 
For her red eyes seem'd to curse him, till his very soul was 

sered 
With the look of wrath she gave him, as she sobb'd and disap- 

pear'd. 

Beneath the beetling granite, where the slaughter'd chieftain 

The blood-stained gems the murderer in the cliff's chink hid 

away : 
Then, furious as a maniac, from the place of crime he flew, 
'Till Bunratty's ghastly Castle 'rose, in darkness, on his view. 

* For a description of Oebhin, the Banshee of the Dalgais, see poems and 
notes at pages 41 and 103. 



342 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

There he told De Clare the story, how he slew the Dalcas 

prince, 
And the traitor was rewarded with a golden recompense ; 
But the eye of heaven was on him for the hideous deed he'd 

done, 
And God's kindled wrath held o'er him a red scourge he could 

not shun. 

Danced the sunbeams o'er the valleys, in their balmy 

morning play, 
And the woodlands' vernal freshness in a dream 01 beauty 

lay, 
And the mists arose, like spirits, from the heather s crimson 

bed, t . 

Round the darkly-shadow'd ravine where the noble victim 

bled. 

Chimed the bird of heaven above him, in the sapphire plains 

of light, 
And the blossom'd rock-brier near him waved its wreaths of 

green and white, 
And the lonely mountain-plover raised its shrill voice at his 

head, 
While the winds, like mourners, whisper'd round the pale 

brow of the dead. 

He who ruled o'er all those valleys, hills, and woodlands 

yesterday, 
With ten thousand proud heads bowing glad submission to 

his sway, 
Lies unshriven, unanointed, without requiem, shroud, or 

prayer, 
Unlamented and abandon'd, like a wolf slain in his lair. 

And the murderer lived unpunish'd, tho' a hell was in his 

mind, 
For his presence was detested, curst, and scorn'd by mankind ; 
'Till two circling harvests lifted their brown billows o'er the 

plain, 
And the battle-clans were marshall'd for the deadly toil again. 

And black Munchin was amongst them, in the army of De Clare, 

The leader of a squadron which himself hath trained with 
care; 

But the Norman bands were routed, and their allies hewn, in 
blood, 

And the regicide, for refuge, sought the lonely mountain- 
wood. 

And he said, in self-communion, as along the wold he ran, 
"I'll leave this land of bloodshed, where the curse of man is 
man! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 343 

But I'll take those jewels hidden in the cliff of Carrigree, 
And I'll make a home of pleasure in some land beyond the 
sea 1" 

Away, with deer-like swiftness, to the fatal hill he hied, ' 
'Till he reach'd the gory ravine in its torrent-cloven side ; 
There he saw the blood-stain' d heather; but the corpse was 

brought away, 
Long since, for pious burial in the consecrated clay. 

Burn'd his brow and throbb'd his eye-balls, for the brand of 

cursed Cain 
Seem'd to pierce his aching forehead, 'till it scorch'd his reeling 

brain ; 
While the stiff gore on the dry broom, changed from dark to 

melting red, 
'Till the mass of wither'd heather, with reviving freshness, 

bled. 

Round the brown hill roll'd a black cloud, that o'ershadow'd 

stream and plain, 
And the dark firs shriek'd and shiver'd as if seized with fearful 

pain; 
For God's thunder- voice of judgment, in red words of flame, 

began 
To pronounce perdition's sentence on the wretched, guilty man. 

Thro' the blue gloom of the valley rush'd the blast in fiendish 



And the dancing sheets of lightning whirFd around, like 

blazing palls ; 
And the huge hill thrill'd and trembled to its mighty granite 

knees, 
Like a panic-stricken giant who impending danger sees. 

Some pitying angel whisper'd the doom'd wretch to kneel and 

pray, 
But the fiend was in his steel'd heart, and it coldly answer'd, 

"Nay!" 
While fiercer, louder, nearer, roar'd the elemental peal, 
And the fork'd flames, like red war-brands, glared and leaped 

along the vale. 

Like the God-denying Atheist, Munchin view'd the scene, and 

thought 
That the awful change existed, by some freak of nature 

wrought, 
When the lightning's blazing arm hurled the cliff-pile on his 

head, 
And its crash might chase the slumber from the cold eyes of 

the dead. 



344 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Deep, beneath the massive ruin was the hateful traitor crush'd, 
The lightning quench'd its blue torch, and the thunder's peal 

was hush'd; 
Clear'd the cloud, and calm'd the tempest, sung the birds, and 

shone the sun,— r 
God's fiery agents rested, for his vengeance-work was done. 



TORLOGH AND MARY, 

A LEGEND OF QUIN ABBEY.* 

Bring to this table f a goblet of flame, 

'Till I drink a toast to the gallant and true ! 
Bring not red wine — for red wine is too tame — 

But a fiery bumper of "Mountain Dew!" 
Here's to your memory, bold Seaan Bwee ! 

That lies there below, in the Abbey of Quin — 
Oh, heavens of light ! shall we evermore see, 

In the land of Brian, such brave, wild men ? 

The soil is curst with degenerate seed — 

Gone is the race of our battle-gods ; 
Yes, the diamonds are gone, and in their stead 

Is a cold generation of fireless clods ! 
There's wrath in my heart- veins here, to-day ! 

Ah, Denis Moloney, my friend, don't laugh ! 
What I said is true, and again I say, 

Death took the wheat, but he left the chaff! 

You say that you knew the fierce man of fire, 
That tyrant or demon could not control — 

Give me the glass — fill it up entire — 
Here's eternal joy to his god-like soul ! 

* Quin Abbey was built, in 1402, by Sioda Cam MacNamara, Prince of 
Clancuilen, whose remains were interred under the grand high altar. Though 
now in a ruinous state, it yet retains much of its pristine grandeur, and 
stands a magnificent memorial of the affluence, munificence and piety of 
its princely founder. Within its venerable precints rest the ashes of many 
of the warlike chieftains and lords of Clancuilen, who ranked next in power 
and prestige to the princely O'Briens themselves. "With it are connected 
many romantic legends and sensational traditions of the old, bygone times 
of feud and chivalry. 

t An old festive table and other antiquated articles of house furniture 
which belonged to the celebrated Dalcassian fire-eater, MacNamara, are in 
the possession of a man named Denis Moloney, who keeps an inn opposite 
the abbey. The tomb, in which lie the relics of the intrepid Fireball, is to 
be seen in a small compartment of the ruin at the left side of the high altar, 
and nearly opposite is to be seen the tomb of O'Callaghan the Great, who 
fell in a duel, by the hand of Seaan Bog MacNamara, of Ennis, through 
the instrumentality of Fireball. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 345 

Yon tower rises up, like a phantom of gloom, 
As I look from the window, with mournful pride, 

At the palace of shadows that darken his tomb, 
And the low, little cot where the warrior died ! * 

I enter'd the abbey, with panting speed — 

I signed no cross, and I said no prayer, 
For my heart leapt about, like a goaded steed, 

O'er the noble ashes that moulder there ; 
Ghosts of old memories, on the blast, 

Seem'd flitting around me, like things of light — 
Oh, God be with the immortal past ! 

And the glorious men who could feast and fight ! 

Grand Temple ! where chieftains and princes knelt 

Before thy high altar, which richly blazed 
With pure, waxen tapers, and humbly felt 

The presence of God, when the Host was raised ! 
War and time, majestic Dome ! 

Have plunder'd the beauty of choir and nave ; 
Thy altar stands naked, and ruin and gloom 

Frown, grim at each other, o'er many a grave \ 

On column and tracery, chancel and arch, 

Art lavish'd the wealth of her brain and hand ; 
And the curious eye for a fault may search, 

But yet see none in thine order grand ! 
How splendid thou wert in thy bright, young time ? 

And a calm, dark splendour is round thee yet, 
Like the awful stamp of a soul sublime, 

On the brow of a saint, when life's beam is set ! 

Thou'rt gilt with the beams of September noon, 

But I'd give the best jewel of Inchiquin, 
To see thy gloom-glory, when midnight's moon 

Thro' yon tall, gray window, looks dimly in ! 
When the mist spirit sits on the dreary lea, 

And the bird of sadness and solitude moans 
From the skeleton-branch of yon ghost-like tree 

That stands 'mid a hillock of human bones ! f 

When the weird ivy rustles along the dim walls, 
As the spectral-wind walks the dismal aisle, 

And the dew, like the tears of the banshee, falls 
On the gaunt, sere leaves of the shadowy pile ; 

* Fireball drew his last breath in a little cottage, in the neighbourhood 
of the abbey. See a poem on his grave, at page 118. 

+ A huge pile of human bones, the grisly trophies of the surrounding 
graves accumulated, from time to time, in one horrid heap against the old 
abbey wall, disappeared in a night, but no person could tell whether they 
were taken by the original proprietors, or others for some profane purpose. 

23 



346 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

While the sombre glow of the dreaming night 
Robes column and tomb, like white drapery thin, 

Palace of Death ! what an awful sight, 
In thy dark, spirit-grandeur, to see thee then ! 

Ah many a mournful change hast thou known — 

Change of races, and rulers, and creeds ; 
Old customs abolish'd, old dynasts o'erthrown — 

Battles, rebellions, and fearful deeds — 
And that skeleton-heap, the gray wall beside, 

O'er whose sun-bleached fragments the gaunt boughs bend, 
Oh, Love and Beauty, Ambition and Pride ! 

Rank, Title and Honour ! is this your end ? 

Denis Moloney, sit here on this knoll, 

The heavens are clear, and the meadows are dry ; 

And I'll bring forth a page from the book of my soul 
To read you a story of times gone by ! 

There dwelt a young maiden in Quin, long ago — 
The bards of Clan Tail could her loveliness tell — 

H er hair was like mist on a mountain of snow, 
And her eyes were as clear as a holy well ! 

She loved young Torlogh, of Ardsoillus wild, 

But a wealthy knave proposed for her hand ; 
Not for the sake of her beauty mild, 

But her ample dower and her father's land. 
And her father, in anger, before her stood, 

And vow'd that his daughter for ever should part 
From the manly youth of the generous blood, 

To marry the knave of the shrunken heart. 

She wept all night, and she wept all day, 

Lock'd up in her chamber, and watch'd by spies, 
'Till her cheek-flowers paled and wither'd away 

In the bitter grief -tide of her burning eyes — 
But vainly she wasted her heart's hot rain, 

And vainly her sighs thro' the long night rose ; 
Her spirit must wear the detested chain, 

For Torlogh's father and her's were foes. 

The wedding-night came — 'twas a night of doom — 

The wine was rich and the mirth was loud ; 
And the bride came forth from her private room, 

In her snowy dress, like a morning cloud — 
In silence the pitying guests behold 

The beautiful sadness of her look, 
Where her soul its story of anguish told, 

Like a dark tale penn'd in an angel's book. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 347 

The priest was ready — the pair knelt down — 

A low moan parted the lips of the bride ; 
Her slight frame sway'd, with that deep heart-moan, 

And out on the floor gush'd her life's red tide. 
The craven-groom, like a frighten'd hound, 

Sprang up to his feet, and soon took the door, 
While guests and kinsmen, gathered around 

The maid that lay dead on the gore-dyed floor. 

Confusion and fright filled the festive room — 

The bridesmaids clamour'd and tore their hair ; 
Strong men look'd aghast, and the priest stood dumb, 

And her father gazed round, with an idiot-stare, 
Thus heaven punish'd the cold-soul'd sire, 

For the victim he made of his innocent child ; 
Remorse ate his heart, and his brain's mad fire 

Drove him out on the world, a maniac wild. 

Nine nights in her coffin the maiden lay, 

But Torlogh knew not that she was dead, 
For his friends kept the tale from his ears away, 

They only told him that she was wed ! 
'Till, one dusky eve in the dark -red wood, 

When the moon of the harvest began to shine, 
He wander'd down by the Fergus' flood 

To see, in the meadow, his browsing kine : 

The scene was calm as a dream of love, 

And his eyes were raised to the pearl-like star 
That glows, 'mid the west's gold and purple above, 

As it follows the sun in its journey far : 
And his wizard fancy aspired to trace, 

In that gentle planet, with sweet regret, 
The mournf al beauty of Mary's face, 

When last on those wild, green banks they met. 

The tear was dimming his dark, hawk-eye, 

And the wave of his bosom began to swell, 
When he heard a low voice, like the nightly sigh 

Of the wind-swung reeds by a haunted well. 
He turned, and look'd thro' the plain's blue haze, 

And he saw, moving towards him, with footsteps slow, 
A maiden, as bright as the spring-noon blaze, 

When it suddenly bursts on the hill's new snow. 

'Twas Mary — her slow, stately step he knew-— 
As she pass'd near the haunt of the black- wing'd raven — 

With her garment as white as the frozen dew, 
And her face as sweet as the flowers of heaven. 



348 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Her brow was pale as the cold dawn-star, 

The sheet of the mist lay unstained where she trod ; 

And she looked as if, at the judgment bar, 

She had caught the sweet glance of the face of God, 

"Oh, welcome, dear Mary !" the glad youth said, 

Extending his hand, with a bright 'ning smile; 
" I was told, but did not believe, you were wed, 

Tho' I felt, when I heard it, my blood-springs boil ! 
Oh, Colleen, darling ! I never, till now, 

Saw my beautiful lily so tenderly bright ! 
And the silver arch of thy virgin brow 

Seems to borrow from heaven its angel-light !" 

"I am not wedded !" the maiden rejoined, 

My heart to its idol is still too true ! 
Machree ! I'd not give to the best of mankind 

The hand and the word that I pledged to you ! 
I've left, for ever, my father's home, 

And the stream of our love shall run smooth again, 
If, to-morrow night, at twelve, you'll come 

To meet me alone, at the Abbey of Quin ! 

"There our hands in eternal truth we'll plight, 

And ere the white star of the red-dawn hour, 
Shall fade in the morning's increasing light, 

We'll be far away from the cold world's power ! 
And we'll go to a golden realm of joy, 

Where the sun never sets, and the spring never dies- 
Where the tear of regret and sorrow's dark sigh 

Never tainted the air of the roseate skiesj. 

"No envy, nor pride, nor ambition is there, 

But soul meets soul, with a song of love ! 
And lovers, as free as the flowers from care, 

Thro' rosy valleys of brightness rove ! 
And the streamlets from diamond-mountains flow 

Thro' beds that with sands of crystal gleam, 
And the winds, on the gold-banks, come and go, 

Like the heavenly song of the fairy dream ! 

"And the rich meads seem in a rosy trance, 

With their glistening verdure that never fades, 
Where golden honey-drops glow and glance 

On the star-like flowers and the scented blades ! 
And the blossoms shine on the sunny trees, 

Like pearl-cups hung 'mid the bright green leaves ; 
And fields of lilies play in the sweet breeze, 

Like sheeted foam on the green sea-waves !" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The joyful Torlogh promised to go, 

And his glad heart gush'd, like a festive bowl, 
For he felt a delirious enchantment glow 

Thro' his bounding blood and his spell-wrapt soul — 
A dream-like rapture around him grew, 

And his being seem'd changed into melody sweet, 
As if the strong power of the Fairies drew 

A wild web of magic around his feet. 



349 



But he saw his beloved one gliding away 

Thro' the pale, yellow twilight-mist, like the gleam 
Of the new Spring-moon, at the close of day, 

Stealing into a cloud, o'er a waveless stream — 
He followed her down by the dark-red wood, 

But her form diminish'd, until, at last, 
By a bush-grown curve of the echoing flood, 

Like a vanishing ray, from his sight she past. 

And all that night, and the next day -noon, 

He seem'd to walk in a palace of dreams, 
'Till the sun behind Callan's blue summit went down, 

With his fiery banner of crimson beams. 
The rain-clouds gather'd their dull, dusk veil 

O'er the varied hue of the changing sky, 
And the wind, with a low, sad, ominous wail, 

Came over the moor, like a giant's cry. 

Night's features darker and darker grew — 

The blast raved wilder — the hours waned late — 
And Torlogh to meet his dear Mary flew, 

Alone and unseen, from his father's gate — 
The cold murk shrouded the colder rain, 

The angry squall thro' the black trees roar'd, 
As he sped thro' the village, and down the plain 

Where the Fergus winds, like a silver chord. 

And colder and darker the old pile seem'd, 

With its ghostly steeple and crumbling naves — 
Round its naked gables the owlet scream'd, 

And the rain-clouds wept o'er its floor of graves — 
But Torlogh felt not the least afraid 

At the house of the dead, or the blackness it wore, 
For his passionate love for the mild-faced maid, 

Had a golden root in his heart's soft core. 

He walk'd 'mid the horrid sepulchral gloom — 

The blast, 'mid the ruins, sung requiems deep, 
As he stepp'd over many a white-stain'd tomb, 
Where the princes and lords of Clancuilen sleep. 




,350 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And before him there stood at the mouldering door, 
His Mary, all lonely and dismally white — 

"Welcome," she whispered, "Oh, Bridegroom pure ! 
You are just in time for the sacred rite !" 

He gazed on the maiden, so cold and tall — 

A strange lire glow'd in her starlike eye, 
As she pensively leaned 'gainst the drooping wall, 

Like a banshee tired of her funeral cry — 
He touch 'd her white garment's airy wave, 

But his hand, at the touch of that robe, grew chill, 
For 'twas like the snow-fog of a wintry eve 

Lying over the side of a frozen hill. 

They entered the chancel — the scene was changed — 

A rich -robed priest at the altar prayed, 
And his calm, dark, solemn eyes slowly ranged 

O'er an open missal before him laid — 
The altar was dress'd in its holiest style — 

Twelve tall white candles were burning there ; 
And a congregation knelt round the aisle, 

With clasped hands raised, and heads bow'd in prayer. 

And Torlogh gazed on the kneeling crowd, 

But people and priest were unknown to him ; 
And the sighs of the penitent souls grew loud 

Thro' the dreary aisle and the chancel dim. 
The priest from the throne of the Host came down — 

To his bosom he held the sacred Book — 
At Torlogh he stared, with a stony frown, 

Till his every nerve, like a gossamer, shook. 

He beckon'd the silent couple to kneel — 

They obey'd, and the ceremony soon began, 
But the young bride's clasp was, like frigid steel, 

Congealing the hand of the doom'd young man. 
The words were utter d — the pair gave consent — 

The rite was completed ; — but, was it the wind 
That lifted its voice thro' an ivied rent, 

With a hoarse " Amen !" from the tombs behin 

Poor Torlogh, bewilder'd, around him gazed, 

And look'd up to the roof, but his wondering eye 
Saw no roof, but the stars, that, like death-lights, blazed 

Thro' the wind-torn veil of the ghastly sky. 
The rain-drops splashed on the tomb-stones old — 

The gaunt ivy rustled <*ibove his head ; 
And the hollow-toned blast on his face blew cold, 

As it whistled its midnight tune o'er the dead. 



LAYS ANT> LEOFA'DR OF TTT0M0ND. oi)\ 

The youth gazed close at his Mary's face, 

And he saw the grave-sweat from her brow ooze damp ; 
The priest disappear'd from the altar-place, 

And the candles died out, like a glow-worm's lamp ! 
Shuddering and soul-sick, he sought the door, 

The bride's snowy form moved on at his side, 
But his heart- veins grew numb d, and he sank on the floor, 

And there, 'mid the dust of the dead, he died. 

Now gray-hair'd Denis, you've heard my rhyme, 

And fain would I stray in the abbey alone, 
Where the white footprints of the spirit of time 

Are stamp'd on the face of each hoary stone, 
Lo ! yon gray tower, with its bald head riven,* 

O'er whose tottering summit the white clouds swim ! 
I'll spend a few minutes up there, in heaven, 

At the risk of a fall and a broken limb ! 

I'll gaze around on the rich, green plains, 

That lie, in the sunlight, from east to west, 
Where law has made ruin, and churls in chains, 

Like poor, dull beasts with dull burdens press M ! 
They adore one god — and that god is gold — 

They live for nought but their own base sake, 
With hearts in their bosoms as timid and cold, 

As perishing frogs in a wintry lake. 

Alas ! poor Clare — not the Clare of yore ! 

The generous spring of your souls is dead ! 
They feel no love for their ancient lore, — 

They know no pride for the soil they tread ! 
Peace, with poverty, here appears, 

And the old abbey shakes its ivy cap, 
As if giving a sigh for the golden years 

When blood and spirit stood in the gap. 

Bright land of Cas, of the silver shields ! 

Thy arm of fire was once strong in strife, 
And every foot of thy regal fields 

Was bought by the blood of some noble life ! 
Gone are the forests of pines and oaks 

That vestured thy hills of the fragrant air ! 
And thy abbeys and towers, with their leafy cloaks, 

Tell tales of the grandeur that once was there ! 

* The annalists tell a fearful story of the execution of Donogli na Beg (the 
little) O'Brien, at Quin. lie was brought by Cruise, the Sheriff of the 
county, before Sir John Perrott, the English Deputy, who sentenced him, 
viz., he was half-hanged from a car and his bones were smashed with the 
back of a birge and heavy axe, and his body, thus mangled and half-dead, 
was affixed, fastened with ropes, to the top of Quin Steeple, under the 
talons of the fowls of the air ? that the sight of him in that state might serve 
as a warning to other rebellious evil-doers. His crime was no more than 
robbing the English settlers of Connaught. 



352 LAYS AND LEO ENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE BATTLE OF THURLES.* 

A. ]). ] 174. 

The war-fires' light 

Gleamed red all night 
Along the mountain gloom — 

King Donald's men 

Are up again, 
From Luimnoch to Slieve Bluim ! 

From glen and wood 

The hone and blood 
Of his fierce and fearless clan, 

In wild array, 

At dawn of day, 
O'er Ormond's plains swept on. 

And fiercely blew 

The loud baraboo,f 
And his bards their war-hymns sang, 

While the martial breath 

Of that chant of death 
Was timed by the steely clang 

Of falchion keen, 

And glittering skein, 
And strong iron-plated shield 

Whose blue orb bore 

The red marks of war, 
In many a victor-iield. 

And brightly above 

The tall spear-grove 
lanced the banner of Minister's kings, 

With " Three lions " of might, 

In golden light, 
Display'd on its emerald wings ; 

And high in the van 

Of his desperate clan 
Strode the kingly Donald More ;£ 

As strong in the charge 

As the headlong surge 
That bursts on the western shore. 



* The battle of Thurles (Durles O'Fogarty) in which, according to some 
annalists, seventeen hundred oft Ik; Norman army fell, was the first import- 
ant encounter that took place between the Irish and their English inva- 
ders. The Dalgais of Thomond, commanded by their irrepressible king, 
Donald More O'Brien, were complete victors in that stern engagement. 

t The baraboo was a sonorous war trumpet used by the Irish for sound- 
ing the advance of an army. 

$ ''King Donald was the founder and endower of several fine churches and 
abbeys, the principal of which are (Jorcomroe Abbey, Jloly-eross, Killaloe 
Church, and the grand Cathedral of 8t. Mary's, in Limerick, where his re- 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 353 

From Waterford 

The Norman horde 
To the plains of Ikerrin came, 

In vengeful haste, 

The land to waste, 
With sword and destroying flame — 

Three thousand strong, 

They march 'd along, 
With fierce Stringul at their head ; 

Nor house nor herd 

Their fury spared, 
As on their foray they sped. 

Across the plain 

Is darkly seen 
One flood of helms and plumes ; 

As sweeping down 

The hill-side brown 
The mighty army comes — 

But as the heave 

Of the mad sea-wave 
Is barr'd by the crag-pil'd shore, 

80 that iron-tide, 

On Durles's side, 
Was stopp'd by King Donald More. 

Then, hoarse and high, 

The wild battle-cry 
Of the stern Dalcassians peal'd, 

And the Normans proud, 

With a shout as loud, 
Their martial defiance yell'd ; 

Then, left and right, 

With sweeping might, 
The headlong hosts engaged, 

And life ne'er bled 

In a strife so red, 
While that combat of bloodhounds raged. 

mains repose. Ho was sixth in descent from the great King Brian, and in- 
herited the proud blood and magnanimous spirit of his illustrious ancestor. 
He was for twenty-six years constantly in arms against the English power, 
which he repeatedly drove, with loss, from the borders oi his principality. 
His Queen was Urlacam, daughter of MacMorrough, King of Leinster ; by 
her he had nine sons and two daughters, Mary and Caithlin. He burned 
the city of Limerick twice, in order to prevent the English adventurers 
from establishing themselves there. He died in his palace at Limerick, in 
1194, in the 32nd year of his reign, and the 78th of his age. 

" He fought another battle at Thurles twenty years after his first victory 
at that place, for he attacked and routed the Normans, near Killaloe, and 
pursued them to Thurles, where he encountered the main body of their 
army, which he triumphantly defeated, with great loss, after a stubborn, and 
stern resistance." — Annals of Thomoncl. 



354 LAYS AND LE0EXD3 OF TTTOMOXD 

But the javelins' rain 

Was launch '(I in vain 
Against the strong Norman mail ; 

With a quivering bound 

They fell to the ground, 
From the ri vetted plates of steel, 

While the Dalcas' breasts 

Thro' their saffron vests, 
Were plough 'd by the Norman brands, 

Till, as steel rives stone, 

A red pass was hewn 
Thro' the heart of the riven bands. 



Yet those brave, stern men 

Their ranks closed in, 
And the desperate odds withstood, 

Tho' the plain around, 

Where they held their ground, 
Was fat with their valiant blood; 

Lance clang'd on lance, 

In a flashing dance, 
And the crash of the mighty strokes 

Roll'd on, like the swell 

Of the thunder's knell, 
When it peals thro' a wood of oaks. 



Then King "Donald More,* 

High towering o'er 
The surge of the stormy fray — 

Like a giant-rock, 

'Mid the whirl and shock 
Of a tempest-madden'd sea — 

O'er the reeking wreck, 

And the wild attack, 
The death-shriek and wrathful yell, 

His voice pcal'd out, 

Like a war-god's shout, 
Or the clang of a mighty bell : — 

"Your javelins fail 
To pierce their mail, 
Tho' with vigour and swiftness thrown ! 

* " King Donald More tarnished his edory by tho barbarous act of putting 
out the eyes of his two nephews, at Oasllc Connoll, to disqualify them from 
their claims on the chieftaincy. When Roderick O'Connor, monarch of 
Ireland, heard of this, lie advanced to chastise the Prince of Thomond for 
his cruelty, but on his return home he was obliged to commit the same 
barbarity on his own son, who, in his absence, had taken arms to usurp his 
throne and overthrow his government."- Annul* «/' Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 355 

But, if you would smite 

Their iron might, 
Tis your axes must hew them down ! 

Dismiss the brands 

From your valiant hands, 
And strike with your axes keen, 

As your sires, on the day 

Of Clontarf's red fray, 
Smote the bands of the robber Dane !" 



The spear and sword, 

At the leader's word, 
Are flung from each warrior's hand ; 

Skeins lie in the sheath, 

And the hatchets of deatli 
Are grasp'd by the Dalcas band. 

Then, as crags hurl'd down 

From the hill's blue crown, 
On the woods of the sounding vale, 

They leapt, like the slash 

Of a cascade's dash, 
On the phalanx of Norman steel. 

Burst the helms in two, 

And the breastplates flew 
Into fragments, like stricken fire ; 

And down, with the crash 

Of a falling ash, 
Roll'd each chief in the reeking mire ; 

And broad and red, 

In breast and head, 
Did the battle-axe leave its mark, 

Like the yawning dint, 

Where a rock hath rent 
The hull of a founder 'd bark. 



In vain ! in vain ! 

With rowel and rein, 
Did the horsemen fling their steeds 

Thro' the deadly crush, 

As wild beasts rush 
Thro' a morass of quivering reeds ; 

For, as reapers hew 

A wide passage thro' 
A thick mass of redundant corn, 

With a hollow sound, 

To the reeling ground, 
MailM riders and steeds are borne. 



356 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And fiercely peal'd, 

O'er the ringing field, 
u Lamli Laklir Inochta /" wild,* 

As gallowglass stern, 

And stalwart kern, 
At the harvest of carnage toil'd ! 

And dread Donald More, 

'Mid a wave of gore, 
His men to their grim work cheer VI, 

Like a lion's roar, 

On a stormy shore, 
O'er the sound of the breakers heard. 

With madden'd speed 

Steed plunged on steed, 
And rank was flung back on rank, 

'Midst a cloud of blood, 

As a wintry flood 
Sweeps in thro' a broken bank. 

Steel blazed in air, 

Like the fiery glare 
Of the meteor-flames of death, 

That flash their rays 

Thro' the midnight haze, 
As they shoot o'er the blasted heath. 

And, scatter VI, back 

On their red war- track, 
The Norman forayers fled, 

Leaving behind 

The wide field lined 
With the wreck of their army dead — 

The flower and boast 

Of their valorous host 
Lay there on the purple plain — 

Great champions of swords, 

Brave knights and lords, 
With the common soldiery slain. 

Here, in armour bright, 

Lay a stalwart knight, 
With his head half sever'd away ; 

And another lay there, 

With his dead eyes' glare 
Turn'd up to the orb of day — 

And others lay dead, 

AVith the blood-gouts red 
Oozing freshly from trunk and limb, 

* The war-cry of O'Brien's clan, i. e., " The strong hand uppermost ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 357 

With the angry scowl 
Of the parting soul 
On their features, rigid and grim. 

And the brave war-horse, 

Of spirit and force, 
Lay there, like a fallen tower, 

With a deep wound sank 

In his gaping flank, 
Deprived of his pride and power. 

And, face to face, 

In a death-embrace — 
►Strctch'd stiff on the batter'd clay, 

Where the grappling throng 

Of the fight surged strong — 
Dalcassian and Norman lay. 

Throughout the land 

The tidings grand 
Of King Donald's victory ran — 

The first death-blow 

Is given the foe, 
And liberty's fight is began — 

Proud Strongbow is gone 

To Waterford town, 
But blood is before him there, 

For the citizens rose 

'Gainst their garrison' d foes, 
And slaughtered them in their lair. 

There's revelry high, 

And boisterous joy, 
From Cashel to Shannon's shore, 

And Luimnoch waits 

To open her gates 
For her conquering Donald More ! 

Bright wreaths and flowers 

Hang from the towers, 
To adorn the chieftain's way ; 

And the bards proclaim 

His immortal fame, 
In many a glorious lay. 

Stars of the Gael ! 

O'Connor ! O'Neill ! 
O'Rourke of the wrathful hand ! 

Come forth, and join 

The royal O'Brien, 
In sweeping the pest from your land ! 



358 LAY.S AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

O'Donnell ! Magiiire ! 

Proud souls of fire ! 
MacCarthy ! 0' Sullivan Beare ! 

Arise ! — and unite 

For your princely right, 
And fling your base feuds to the air ! 

High princes and lords 
Of the cleaving swords ! 

In your hands is your country's fate — 
Unite ! — unite 
Your divided might ! 

And strike, ere it be too late ! 
Ere your land's despoil'd, 
And your homes defiled, 

By those war-hawks of plunder and prey ! 
Arise, and join 
With the bravo O'Brien, 

And hurl them into the sea ! 



THE BRIDE OF THE SUIR. 

A KAJRY LKGKNI) OF OAIIIK. 

Stern Donald, the son of proud Callaghan More, 
Has gone for his bride to the banks of the Suir, 
For he promised, ere Christmas had lighted its flame, 
To bring to his mansion the silken-haired dame — 
And his tall gallowglasses, with javelin and skein, 
Like the wolf-hounds of Galtee, around him are seen ; 
And they rode with the rings of their long, yellow hair, 
Like the cloudlets of sunset, afloat on the air. 

'Twas December — the frost in the valley was gray, 
And the wind-borne snow-drift descended all (lay, 
And those silvery fragments of winter's costume, 
In white splendour, glistened on mantle and plume, 
While headlong, as torrents, o'er moorlands and meads, 
Dash'd those eagle-eyed men on their lire-blooded steeds, 
'Till the gloaming beheld them, ;is gather' d the night, 
Sweeping down by the river, like ghosts all in white. 

There was silence around — scarce the horse-hoofs were heard 

To awaken a sound from the snow-covered sward ; 

And the river look'd black as an ebony vein, 

Stretch'd along the wide breast of the white-niuflled plain — 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOXD. 359 

Hoar and huge in the distance, the Gal tees look'cl down, 
With the snow-angel dimly enthroned on their crown, 
And the pine-shafts, like pillars, seem'd lightly to bear 
Pearl palaces built by the Genii of air. 

The moon's horn peer'd thro' the cloud's broken ring, 

Like a silver bow under the cloak of a king, 

While a star, at intervals, reveal'd its red eye, 

Here and there, thro' the mist-piles that floated on high. 

The polar wind breathed its night-vesper low, 

As if whispering a story of God to the snow, 

And telling the pure thing of heaven, in its song, 

That its radiant sojourn on earth was not long. 

"Ten miles hence!" said Donald, " our journey will soon 

Be done, in an hour, by the light of the moon! 

My Mora is waiting — your fare shall be good — 

And I'll give you red wine till you swim in its flood !" 

Spur and whip are applied to the flank of each steed, 

And the flight of a meteor was slow to their speed ; 

Their air-lifted cloaks, in their swiftness, seem'd riven, 

And their toss'd plumes shook oil' the hoar spangles of heaven. 

They rode by the base of a gray, olden cairn, 

Like a naked ghost, rising 'mid broom-bush and fern ; 

The owl, with her spirit-voiced wailing, was there, 

And the curlew's lone note sounded shrill thro' the air ; 

When, lo ! by the sheen of the dim lunar-beam, 

Right against the small phalanx a cavalcade came, 

And Donald commanded his resolute men 

To poise their long spears, and their coursers rein in ! 

The pageantry moved on, majestic and slow, 

But the hoofs of the steeds left no marks on the snow : — 

It first, like a rolling mist, seem'd to appear, 

'Till it grew more distinct as the horsemen drew near ; 

But their figures were strange, and their faces were pale, 

And they wore not the " colon " nor garb of the Gael, 

For a gloom hung around cavalier and mail'd knight, 

And their cloudy plumes darkenM their harness of light. 

But their regal-eyed leader, who rode in the van, 

Scarcely bore the terrestrial resemblance of man, 

For the light of a strange sphere around him seem'd thrown, 

And his brow with the glow of the Beautiful shone ; 

And his locks o'er his neck in an amber wave roll'd, 

Like cloud-curls steep'd in the sun's aerial gold, 

When the spirit of light, at the calm evening hour, 

Is bendinir in heaven God's bow of the shower. 



360 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And close, at his saddle-end, seated behind, 
"With her white bridal-robe flowing loose on the wind, 
Was Mora, the chosen of Donald the proud, ? 

With her head on the throne of her snow-bosom bow d. 
The jealous chief look'd at the bride of his heart, 
With the glare of an eagle, when pierced by a dart, 
And he sprang, with a passion-curse hot on his lip, 
On her captor, as dashes a wave on a ship. 

One lunge of his javelin thro' corselet and vest, 
And the spear's azure point disappeared in his breast ; 
But the stranger, unmoved, sat erect as a reed, 
While the lady fell down, in a swoon, from the steed. 
Donald drew back the lance without blood on its steel, 
As if it had pass'd thro' the night-fog's cold veil, 
And the weird group ascended above the white plain, 
Like a shadowy column of mist after rain. 

Dim and slowly they rose, in the moon's dusky eye, 

'Till they mixed with the haze-banks that lined the gray sky, 

While the mute band, with looks on the firmament cast, 

Saw them soar, 'till the night-clouds received them at last ! 

Fair Mora lay stretched, in her weird trance, below, 

With her locks' yellow rings scattcr'd out on the snow, 

'Till Donald uplifted her slight lily-form 

On his brave steed, and rested her head on his arm. 

" Away !" cried the chief, " give your coursers the rem !" 
And away, like wing'd demons, they sped o'er the plain, 
And their steeds never slacken'd the nerves of their fire, 

Till they came to the tall castle-gate of her sire— 
The horn is winded — the barrier's unbarred — 
And the horsemen dash'd in thro' the wide castle-yard, 
But their ears were assail'd from the chambers within, 
By the harp's song of grief and the thrilling death-keen. 

And the candles of death burn'd dim by a pall, 
Where Mora's white corpse was laid out in the hall, 
And her maiden-companions wept over her there, 
While her sire sat beside her in silent despair. 
Green wreaths from the wood were festooning the bed, 
Round the placid snow-brow of the beautiful dead, 
And the keeners, with melody plaintive and wild, 
Rehearsed all the virtues of Cormac's fair child.* 

* Tn sinking the caoino (keen), the personal endowments and virtues of 
the departed formed the general subject of the death-song. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TITOMOND. 3GI 

That evening, the Fairies the bright maiden won, 
And were bearing her oft' to the Hill of the Sun,* 
But they left in her stead a fair semblance behind, 
That looked like her corpse to the eye and the mind. 
Then her brave lover met them, slow wending their way, 
By the old haunted cairn, so gloomy and gray, 
And he conquer'd her captors, and broke the dark spell 
That lay on her spirit, like ice on a well. 

And the night-hag seem'd casting her shade on the floor 
When Donald, the fearless, appear'd at the door, 
Bearing up, like a seraph asleep, in his arms, 
His innocent bride, in the glow of her charms : 
The corpse, from the mourners' sight, vanish'd in air, 
And the wail of the keeners died into a prayer — 
Morning 'rose, like a vision, o'er valley and moor, 
And the happiest of brides was the bride of the Suir. 



THE BATTLE OF MAORESRTAN, ANT) MURDER OF 
BRIAN ROE AT BUNRATTY.f 

Nine years were past since Brian Roe was hurl'd from Tho- 

mond's throne, 
And proud De Clare had finish'd well his towers of massive 

stone ;% 
And to fulfil his promise, made to Brian, in his need, 
He call'd a council of his friends to know how they'd proceed. 

Then Brian Roe proposed to march, at midnight's favouring 

hour, 
To high Clonroad, and there surprise the rival of his power ;§ 

* The Hill of the Sun, Knoc Greine, in the county Limerick. 

It was supposed to be governed hy the Fairy Queen, Mave, who ruled a 
select order of her own lovely sex there. Every beautiful woman who died 
young was carried away to this hill, by fairy enchantment, according to the 
belief of the simple-minded peasantry. Whatever way their mythology may 
err, it was certainly an innocent and beautiful one, for none but an inno- 
cent and virtuous people could conceive or believe that such charming 
spiritual accommodation was so near them. At least there is something 
more interesting and harmless about it than in the scheming sophistry of 
spirit-rapping, and the wily, material science which some employ to delude 
others. 

t The incidents illustrated in the text are strictly historical. See page 
283 for full particulars. 

X The Castle of Bunratty was for nine years in course of building. It 
was the theatre of war for 150 years. 

$ Here is a sad picture of Irish domestic disaffection : uncle and nephew 
in deadly opposition for royal ascendency. 

24 



3G2 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

"For," said the Chief, "'twere better slay the war- wolf in 

his den, 
Than give him time and chance to try the bloody chase again! 

" But, if we meet him in the field, and in the open day, 
The furious monster and his pack may give us dangerous play; 
And so I deem the surest plan, and best provision laid, 
Is to attack him ere his friends can rally to his aid ! 

" By firm resolve and strategy great objects are attain'd, 
Tho' oft the cross is sorely borne before the crown is gained ; 
And if with my suggestions here your council has agreed, 
The blossom of our high design to ripe fruit shall succeed !" 

Then all concluded, with one voice, that Brian's plan was 

wise, 
And off to high Clonroad they march'd, brave Torlogh* to 

surprise. 
It was a cloudy April night, the wind, with solemn croon, 
Seem'd in the dark halls of the woods to hum a funeral tune. 

Down on the palace of the prince the swift invaders burst, 
And soon were its retainers all laid grovelling in the dust ; 
Then Brian, the usurper, seized on sceptre, crown and 

throne — 
A prize obtain'd by fraud and force, not long to be his own. 

The eagle's nest was captured, but the royal bird escaped, 
And ofl' to (Vmnaught's friendly land his angry course he 

shaped, 
And there he vow'd a fearful vow that, come, God wot, what 

may, 
He'd make those Norman hell-hounds feel his lash another 

day! 

Swift heralds, round about the land, to all his friends he sent, 
And quickly to the chieftain's aid a mighty hosting went; 
O'Maddens and O'Madigans, O'Kellys, stern and stout, 
And fierce I)e Burgos, with the Prince, to Thomond took their 
route. 

There were their strong battalions joined by many a warlike 

man, — - 
MacMahon, from the wild west, with his Corcovaskin clan, 
And the powerful MacXamaras, with ( 'lancuilen's valiant men, 
And proud O'Loghlin, brave OJ)ea, O'Jlehir, and O'Quin. 

*This prinoo, r;illc<l by tho annalists "Torlogh the Warlike," was the 
founder of the town of Knnis. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 363 

The spies and scouts of false De Clare, and ill-starr'd Brian 

Roe, 
Brought tidings of the muster and the movements of the foe ; 
And soon to barrier his advance the active chiefs found way, 
For Norman bands and Irish clans were gather'd for the fray. 

With drum and pipe and cymbal's clash the fiery legions 

wound 
To green Magressian* where, in strength, they chose their 

battle-ground : 
Nor were their arms kept idle long, for, with tempestuous 

cheers, 
On came fierce Torlogh's wrathful host — a blazing surge of 

spears. 

As on a grove of mountain-fir a thunder-tempest leaps, 

And flings the lightning-stricken trees to earth, in blasted 

heaps, 
So soon the war's devouring wrath, with mad uproarious din, 
Commenced to heap the batter 1 d plain with piles of bleeding 

men. 

Great feats of vigour, strength, and skill, on every side were 

done, 
And many a brave soul pass'd away before the day was won ; 
The Norman troops contested stern the warfield, foot by foot, 
Till, mown in heaps, like harvest grass, their bleeding ranks 

were cut. 

And sorely were their Irish aids, the clans of rich Hy-mbloid,f 
By lance and sword, and grinding axe, in reeking carnage 

mowed ; 
And Brian Roe, and fierce De Clare, like hounded boars, were 

chased 
To high Bunratty's iron-halls, in fear and headlong haste. 

Few were their followers from the field, for few survived to say 

What perils, toils, and grim events, had mark'd the awful 
day ; 

Like ghosts around a murderer's tomb, the gloomy chiefs sat 
down, 

With blood-dyed hand, and burning cheek, red eye, and wrath- 
ful frown. 

The banquet-board before them stood, with wine and rich 

repast, 
But little cared the anxious chiefs to break their weary fast, 

* Now called Moyrisk, once the estate of the hospitable " Fireball." 

+ The clans of Eastern Thomond who were, in conjunction with the De 

Clares, opposed to the rule of the senior branch of the O'lirienb. — (See note, 

page 228.) 



364 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOKD. 

For, from their trouble-darken'd hearts the light of hope was 

fled, 
And red-faced shame and black defeat sat heavy on each 

head — 

While thro' the sounding Castle-rooms the bitter wail ascends 
Of those who in that fearful fight had lost their bosom-friends ; 
And even in the iron eyes of spearman, scout, and chief, 
Like oozing springs from flinty cliffs, appear'd the drops of 
grief. 

Uprose imperious Juliana*, De Clare's majestic bride, 

From her white brow the tier of gems she pluck 'd and dash'd 

aside ; 
Close by her sire, Fitzgerald bold, the beauteous Fury stood, 
While o'er her angry features swept a crimson surge of blood. 

Her hot glance, like a poison'd spear, at Brian Roe was cast, 
While from her large, blue, shining eyes the melting drops 

roll'd fast : 
That day her lordly brother in the throng of battle fell, 
And frantic was the lady's grief for him she loved so well. 

" Listen to me, my noble sire ! and you, my Lord De Clare! 

Great evils have we suffer'd thro' this Irish caitiff here ; 

He gave us, in an hour accurst, those broad, surrounding 

lands, 
On which, raised up by ample cost, our stately Castle stands ! 

" He lured us to accept the grant of this disastrous soil 
Where, since we came, our lives have been in constant war 

and broil ! 
He made us dupes to work his curst ambition's bloody aim, 
Till his base schemes involved our house in dire defeat and 

shame ! 

"See now what tenfold misery and mischief have been spread, 

Thro' his fell means our bravest kin in fruitless war has bled ! 
For those misfortunes, 'tis but just that we demand his life, 
Else never more shall proud De Clare address me as his wife !" 

Out spoke her dark sire, in reply : " Thy words, my daughter, 

show 
That in a trusted friend's disguise we had a wicked foe ! 
On his account our stoutest hearts in woeful strife have bled, 
Then shall his life, in justice, pay for all the blood that's shed ! 

* (See rote, page 285.)-" Her husband, Do Clare, ruled the Castle, hut she 
ruled him, and often acted as " Chairman" of the several war councils held 
in that mighty fortress. She also acted as " Judge of Assize," and sentenced 
many to a jx-rpcndicular death, like Lord Norbury. Her brother, Fitz- 
maurice Fitzgerald, fell at the battle of M agression, which aroused her anger 
against Brian 'Roe."— Traditions and Annals of Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 365 

"Ho ! faithful guardsmen, seize the wretch, and bind him fast 

and strong 
To four wild steeds — secure his limbs with many a trusty 

thong — 
And lash them fiercely with your whips, till they, in fragments, 

tear 
This pest and scandal of the house and race of proud De 

Clare !" 

Then, pale with fury, from the board bold Brian Roe leap'd 

up— 
He spilt the wine, and on the ground he dash'd the silver 

cup — 
His back he placed against the wall, and drew his sweeping 

blade — 
"Let those who certain death despise, approach me now!" he 

said. 

"De Clare, is this the base reward your treachery would 

bestow ? 
Is this your hollow friendship's boon conferral on Brian Roe ? 
And have I lived to curse the day, and doubly curse the deed, 
That poison'd Thomond's hallow'd soil with your detested 

seed? 

"Have you not sworn, within yon fane, before the Eternal 

King, 
By all the consecrated bells that at the altar ring ! 
And by the sacred book of truth that holds God's awful word! 
And by the relics of His saints, so holy and revered ! 

"That you would always be to me a friend, unchanged and 

true? 
While by those sacred things I swore to be the same to you ! 
Nay, more, we shared the Holy Host between us, as a bond* 
To link our hearts in union strong, and, in affection, fond ! 

"We drew the hot blood from our veins and mingled it, like 

wine, 
To be of our united faith the symbol and the sign ! 
And, further to cement our love, your gossip I became — 
A false connexion, doomed to end in violence and shame ! 

" For now, when fortune flings me down from my paternal 

throne, 
And adverse fate has turn'd its scourge on me, and me alone, 
I find you black with perjury, and treach'rous as the fiend 
That, with soft whispers, lures the soul to tortures without 

end ! 

* They divided ; the Holy Eucharist between them at the altar in order 
to consolidate their friendship. 



366 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 

* * I granted you those large domains, I shared with you my 

gold, 
To build those mighty granite towers, a murderous sway to 

hold ! 
And here you sentence me to death ! — perfidious hell-hounds ! I, 
Who brought you here, and housed you well — you doom me 

now to die ! 

But, by the God whose patience spares the perjured and 

unjust ! 
Whoe'er attempts to do me harm, his blood shall wet the dust ! 
Unbar your gates — your draw-bridge lower — and let me go in 

peace ! 
I'd rather herd with mountain- wolves than trust your cursed 

race!" 

As furious, yelling hounds assail a gaunt wolf in his den, 
So was the fated chief attack'd by twenty ruthless men — 
Three felt his falchion's deadly weight, till, with a crashing 

fall, 
They brought him down, and bore him, bound and bleeding, 

from the hall. 

To four strong horses, in the yard, the wounded chief they 

tied 
With ox-hide thongs and hempen cords, and then the whips 

they plied ! 
Impetuous, from the smarting strokes, the coursers plunged 

and rear'd, 
While thro' the place the crackling of the victim's limbs was 

heard. 

From their strong joints the solid bones were sunder'd, red 

and bare — 
Each courser, with a desperate spring, tore off a bleeding share ; 
Still clinging to their bloody Hanks the horrid fragments hung, 
And round their legs, like painted roi^es, the trailing entrails 

swung. 

Then deep beneath the donjon tower, into a cavern vast, 
The grooms and serfs, with reeking hands, the gory remnants 

cast; 
Such was the doom and stern reward of royal Brian Roe, 
Who introduced to Thomond's soil the treacherous Norman 

foe. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 367 

THE CHIEFS OF LAMH LAIDIR. 

RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO THE RIGHT HON. LORD INCIIIQUIN. 

On Song's eagle pinion, my spirit is summou'd 
To the vapour-veil'd hills and brown mountains of Thomond ! 
And I sit where the thunder-split summits loom o'er me, 
With the flood bounding down, like a war-horse, before me. 
Thro' the purple broom-desert the minstrel-winds whistle, 
Plucking off the gray plume of the (low n-ere«ted thistle — 
While I lean on the red-spangled couch of the heather, 
Dreaming o'er the grand days of the chiefs of "Lam/i Laidir /" 

On yonder brown cairn a dusky ch.ud-cohimn 
Rises up, like the dark ghost of pvoud Olliul Ollum, * 
To weep for his children's dissensions and doii.^s, 
That stain'd his old kingdom, and laid it in ruins. 
There's a golden sun-crest on that gl^om- '-leaded shadow, 
As it glides down the hill to the green-sheeted meadow — 
To my fancy it seems like the proud eagle fealhoi 
That was worn of old by the kings of "Lamb, L'i'ni'r!" 

Proud shades of the Mighty ! whose glory has hido-d 
Those plains, where the chase and the combat you followed ! 
Methinks you are nigh, and my fancy rejoices, 
To hear in the blast the war-tone of your voices ! 
Your chariots I see in the mist-waves npciu I'd. 
And in the red sun-clouds your haniu is uniuil'd ; 
When the wind and the flood roll their echoes together, 
I dream 'tis your battle-cry, shouting " Lumii, I fi(/ir. r ' 

Mortogh Moref of the Hostings ! whose vengeance wrought 

sorrow 
To Aileaeh's proud halls, for the fall of Kinkora ! 
And he march'd around Erin, in triumph and splendour, 
And made her high kings to his valour surrender. 

* Olliol Ollum, from whoso two sons, Eogain ;uicl Corn? a o Cas, the great 
tribes of the Daleassians and Eugemati:- descended. T>\ Lis will tl e ].rmc< s 
of those iliubtrious septs were lo mle Munsler altc n<au:lv ; hut. in <oui\>-o 
of time, little regard was paid lo the right ol sue, t^imi. toi tl o>e tuihulent 
aspirants to regal honouis nmunn d the tho-ne hy the sin.ry hand of 
violence over each otlieis' iciLs. For e,. utilise^ the wars ot those lival 
blanches tor asc( ndcucy dcsolakd the land and opeix d 'ho way lor the 
stranger, whose ]olic> vastoadd new fuel to the fne of their, discords— till 
thev saw, too late, their principalities in his giasp and the sword of exter- 
mination raised over their heads. Olliol Ollum, King ol Minister, died a.d. 
234. 

t Mortogh More O'Brien was great-grandson to the ilhistrious'Brian Bom, 
and was the most accomplished statesman and indomitable warrior of the 
age in which he lived. A stern exponent and vigorous practitioner of 



368 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

As the mountain-deer starts at the cry of the beagle — 

As birds shrink with fright at the scream of the eagle — • 

80 the Northern forayer and Connaught marauder* 

Heard, with terror, his fierce battle-shout of "Lamh Laidir /" 

In the council of lions his words were the proudest ; 

In the crash of the battle his war-shout was loudest ; 

In greeting a true friend his voice was the mildest ; 

In chasing a foeman his wrath was the wildest ! 

His heart beam'd with love for the good and the holy ; 

His hands scattered gifts to the weak and the lowly ; 

And his rich board was loaded with sirloin and k ' meader," f 

For the travellers who call'd at the^House of "Lamh Laidir ! " 

Donald More of the Conquests ! — Dalcassia's high leader ! 
AVho first broke the power of the Norman invader ;X 
Magnanimous Prince ! — how the foreigners trembled ? 
When the clans, at thy call, in the war-field assembled ! 
How Thurles shook with thy dread battle-clangor ? 
How Luimnock blazed with the brand of thy anger ! 
How the steel-sheathed host of the plundering marauder 
Fled, like wolves, from the wrath of the Chief of " Lamh 
Laidir /" 

Lo ! when to Moyadair,§ the Dalgais are summoned 
To crown an O'Brien their Ruler of Thomond ; 
From mountain and valley, with proud bosoms longing, 
To hail their new king, arm'd thousands are thronging ; 

physical force, as he never enjoyed life better than at the head of an array, 
lie was the last of the royal O'Briens who was acknowledged supreme king 
of Ireland, for which he battled against powerful rivals with great energy 
and valour. He died on the 11th of March, 1 1 IS), and was buried in the old 
church of Killaloe. Three years before his death he made a present of 
Cashel to the clergy of Minister, the most munificent offering ever made to 
the Church by any Irish king since the dawn of Christianity in Erin. He 
"was also the last of the sons of Brian who occupied the palace of Kinkora. 

* MacLoghlin, Prince of Aileach, and Torlogh O'Connor, King of Con- 
naught, were inveterate rivals of Mortogh O'Brien for the supremacy of 
Ireland. 

t A large table was placed in the hall, always supplied with a repast for 
the refreshment of tiavellers and poor persons, who often remained for 
months without being asked who they were. 

X See the battle of Thurles, and note, at page 3")2. 

§ Maghadair. the coronation place of the Princes of Thomond for centu- 
ries, is situate in the townland of Toonagh, parish of Clooney, barony of 
Upper Bunratty. 

A curious story is told by the annalists concerning Torlogh, the father of 
Mortoghmore. " His great enemy, Donald O'Malaghlin, King of Meath, 
w;is slain in battle and buried at Clonmacnoise, and Torlogh, excited with 
wine, one night, at a banquet in his palace of Kinkora, despatched some of 
his clansmen to bring to him the head of O'Malaghlin from the churchyard. 
The head was accordingly brought, but as soon as it was laid before 
Torlogh, something iike a black mouse ran out of it and flew under his 
garment. He was immediately attacked by a frightful malady .which, after 
long suffering, ended his life! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 369 

Bards, Brehons, priests, prelates, and princes surround him, 
And he smiles, like a sire, on his children around him ; 
He swears to protect, with the love of a father, 
The proud septs who crown'd him their Chief of " Lamh 
Laidir!" 

Cheers ring to the heavens — rich banners flash o'er him — 
As his loyal clans show their brave homage before him ; 
And his large, dark eye glows, with the pride of an eagle, 
As he waves the white wand of his chieftaincy regal ! 
There's a foe on the borders — his war-heralds tell him — 
He marshals his band, and he marches to quell him ; 
Soon the chief is engaged in the red work of slaughter, 
And the wild hills re-echo the shout of " Lamh Laidir!" 

Behold the O'Brien returning from battle ! 

The broad plain before him is thronging with cattle ; 

Like the dread god of war, in the vanguard we find him, 

With his terrible clan, like a forest, behind him : 

Did e'er Spartan king or imperial-crown'd Roman, 

Return so proud, with the spoils of a foeman ? 

See his Ollamhs and bards, how delighted they gather, 

To welcome and hail the high chief of "Lamh Laidir!" 

Behold him again, when provoked by a neighbour, 

How his eye flashes up like the blaze of his sabre ! 

War — war is the word, and the fierce son of Brian 

Rushes into the field, with the wrath of a lion. 

Whole troops are mown down — fields and hamlets are burn'd, 

Proud leaders o'erthrown, and tall castles o'erturned — 

Fire and sword rake the lands of the haughty defrauder, 

Who dared to take spoil from the Chief of' "Lamh Laidir /" 

When Morogh* had barter'd, with Henry the churl, 

The crown of a king for the crest of an Earl, 

What dark vows of wrath and fierce vengeance were sworn, 

That the vile badge, in Thomond, should never be worn ; 

War roar'd in the land — towers and strongholds were storm'd, 

Towns ravaged, and red deeds of terror perform'd ; 

And they chased, like a wolf, the degenerate seceder, 

For selling the proud, royal rights of ' ' Lamh Laidir /" 

* " Morogh O'Brien, who surrendered the royalty of Thomond to Henry 
VIII. for an earldom, was, like his great predecessors, a powerful oppo- 
nent to the advance of the English power. He did not submit until the 
majority of the Irish princes had acknowledged the supremacy of Henry. 
Then the Prince of Thomond, seeing that further opposition would be 
worse than useless, made his submission, and accepted a coronet. This act 
involved the Dalgais in civil war, which commenced by an attack on the 
palace of Clonroad, from which Donogh, the second Earl of Thomond, was 
forced to fly. This happened three months after the death of Morogh, the 
first Earl."— Memoirs of the O'Briens. 



370 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Illustrious race ! had not discord pursued you, 
No earthly potentate nor power had subdued you ! 
One hand was uplifted to strike down your brother, 
While you warr'd 'gainst the fierce alien foe with the other.* 
The Dane felt your scourge, and the proud Saxon fought you, 
In vain — till his dark wiles corrupted and bought you ! 
But no royal Plantagenet, Stuart, or Tudor, 
Was ever so grand as a Chief of " Lamli Lakllr /" 

The cromleachs are old — but your royalty's older ; 
The eagles are bold — but your high souls were bolder ! 
The torrents are strong — but your valour was stronger ! 
Twenty ages are long — but your proud line is longer ! 
When England was crush'd by the Danish intruder, — 
Ere Windsor's grand halls heard the name of a Tudor, — 
Those old regal hills, witli their red capes of heather, 
Saw the splendour and power of the kings of " Lamh Laidir!" 

Most noble descendants of great Heber Finn, 

And Cormac the valiant, and conquering Brian ! 

No wonder our annals are rich with your glory, 

And filled with your high deeds of battle and foray ! 

The swiftest-winged falcon would tire on his pinions, 

Ere he'd fly the extent of your princely dominions ! 

From the sea's clifted marge to Slieve Bloom's purple border, 

Lie the lordly estates of the chiefs of " Lamh Laidir /" 

But yet, tho' the pomp of their royalty's ended, 

And their star from its zenith of light has descended — 

Tho' the majestic branch of the King-Tree has wither'd, 

From which the bright fruitage of glory was gather 'd ; 

Old Thomond can still show a true noble sciont 

Of the proud, honour'd stock of the princely O'Brien ! 

And may the high boughs of thy house never wither, 

Descendant and heir of the chiefs of "Lamh Laidir /" 

* Although fiercely quarrelling amongst themselves for the royal honours 
of the chieftaincy, they still ma naged',to settle accounts with the foreigners, 
which they often succeeded in doing with a vengeance. 

+ The present Lord Inchiquin is tenth in descent from Donogh, the first 
Baron of Inchiquin, and the third son of IVIorogh, the last prince and first 
Earl of Thomond. And well worthy he is to repre>ent the nobility of his 
time-honoured house. He is generous, humane, and considerate to his 
tenantry and dependents, and strictly honourable to all who approach 
him. 

"See Geneology of the Enrls of Tncln'quin, in Memoirs of the House of 
Thomond. The Dromohuul O'Briens were connected by maniage with 
English royalty. Lucius, son of sir Donogh,. was married to Lady Catherine 
Keightly, who was a first cousin to Queen Mary aid Queen Anne. Thomas 
Keightly, the father of this lady, got two grants, containing 12,381 acres, 
as a marriage portion for his daughter, and in consideration of his own 
losses during the Williamite war."— Annals of Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 371 



A MIDSUMMER EVENING. 

When the scent of the wild thyme, 

At dreamy eve's mild time, 
Honied the airs of the midsummer-lea — 

Down in the valley's gloom, 

Where the marsh lilies bloom, 
On a moss-bank of flowery broom, Mary met me ! 

Bright was the aerial blue, 

Brown was the landscape's hue, 
Spangles of sunny dew silver'd the glade — 

Fringes of ripe luxmore 

Crimson' d the fountain pure, 
Where, down the mountain-moor, glistening it stray'd. 

Splendid the parting light 

Blended its red and white, 
O'er the hill's purple height, skirting the sea — 

Berries, like beaded lire, 

Glanced from the wreathed brier 
Borders of meadow-lands, rich with new hay — 

Light as a lover's dream, 

Laughing, the zephyr came 
Over the pulsing stream, like a young bee — 

Trembled the glossy waves 

Under the mossy leaves — 
Danced the broom-bells on the bank's dewy knee. 

Red — where the airy path, 

Winds by the Fairy Rath — 
Haws gemm'd the crest of the white-thorn screen — 

On the enamelled ground, 

Daisies were glowing round, 
Like pure, little pearl-drops, dotting the green. 

I look'd on the mountain wide, 

Zoning the forest's side, 
Gushing with wild fruits of green bush and tree — 

I look'd on God's hall above, 

Murmuring " all is love !" — 
" All is love !" whispered sweet Mary to me I 

Gently I heard her speak, 

While a light-flushing streak 
Sunn'd her bloom-blushing cheek, like a ripe peach ; 

" Sweet one, those scenes," said I, 

" Fill me with strains of joy, 
And you are the bright fairy genius of each !" 



372 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

As a rain-drop, at noon-day hour, 

Falls thro' a heated bower, 
Into a thirsty flower, freshening its bowl, 

Thus my heart felt the dew 

Of her eyes' melting blue, 
As her glance, like a sunburst, flew into my soul. 

Up the dark-brown ascent 

Of the calm hill we went, 
Soft to our footsteps bent hare-bell and spray — 

Rabbits, like showy things 

Flitting on snowy wings, 
O'er the pink heather-rings bounded away — 

High in a floating cloud, 

Skylarks were noting loud, 
Like sweet little silver bells tinkling in air ; 

Low, on the sallow plain, 

Gold waves of yellow grain, 
Freshen'd with mellow rain, swell'd and sway'd there. 

Joyful we sat to rest 

On the hill's fern-crest, 
Fronting the fiery west, where the red flames 

Of the sun's glowing eye 

Melted the flowing sky 
Into one rich dye of roseate streams — 

Songs o'er the heather rush'd, 

Airs full of odour gush'd, 
Like fairy sighs, wafted the hill-side about ; 

All in such glory lay, 

Everything seem'd to say, 
Angels on some loving mission are out. 

Feathery clouds glided on 

O'er the flush 'd horizon, 
Each, like a sleeping swan, floated in gold, 

Forming a rosy ring 

Round the day's dying king, 
Like pictures of Eden's Spring brightly unroll'd — 

Sky above, hill and grove, 

Vernal dells, flowery bells, 
All their wild beauty-spells seem'd to unite 

In one elixir cup 

To our lips lifted up, 
Circling our hearts with a wave of delight. 

Rush'd our souls, hand in hand, 
Flying thro' Spirit-land, 
Treading bright diamond sand, lit by love's sun ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 373 

Drinking the music-air 

Of that resplendent sphere, 
Where the cold eye of care on its joys never shone — 

Youth ! what grand sunbow dyes 

Garnish thy morn skies, 
Ere earth's evil shadows rise up in the heart ! 

Ere the world's cold stain of clay 

Blots the soul's dewy May, 
Love ! what a radiant Hy -Brazil thou art ! 



YOUTH'S GREEN SPRING. 

SONG OF AN OLD MAN. 

From sylvan lawn and mountain height 

The wintry haze is gone, 
With yellow beam and blossom white, 

The vernal days come on ; 
The wood-shades, like an altar-choir, 

With golden solos ring, 
And youth's glad spirit feels the fire 
Of love's sweet Spring ! 
Love's bright Spring — 
Love's sweet Spring — 
The flowering May-time of the heart, 
Love's green Spring I 

My soul delights to roam back 
Those dreamy scenes among, 
Thro' many a pleasant home-track, 

When I was wild and young, 
Before the world's wisdom, cold, 

Threw gloom on every thing 
That wore the hue of fairy gold, 
In youth's bright Spring ! 
Youth's gay Spring — 
The heart's sweet Spring — 
The Eden May-day of the soul, 
Youth's bright Spring ! 

The frost of years is on my brow, 

Its ice is in my blood ; 
I've pass'd life's weary campaign thro', 

In trials, ill and good ; 
But wdien, in April-morns, I hear 

The glorious sky-birds sing, 



374 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

My soul looks backward, with a tear, 
To youth's bright Spring ! 
Youth's green Spring — 
The heart's young Spring — 

The sweetest, brightest time of life, 
Is youth's gay Spring! 

Youth is a fairy dream of love — 

A glimpse of Eden's light, 
Reflected from the bowers above, 

On young souls' innate sight ; 
But when we climb to manhood's years, 

Our worldly lot to try, 
The wintry cloud of care appears, 
And Eden's roses die ! 

Youth's green Spring — 
The heart's young Spring — 
The soul's sweet morning-walk on earth- 
Youth's bright Spring. 

The comrades of my early time 

Have vanished, one by one ; 

Some to a world-divided clime, 

Some to the grave are gone ; 

And when to strip the summer-glade, 

Dark autumn has began, 
In every fallen leaf I read 
The fate of wretched man ! 
Youth's bright Spring — 
The heart's sweet Spring — 
Oh, the world is not the world it was 
In youth's green Spring ! 

With staff in hand, and^drooping frame, 

Out in the fields I go, 
Where, on the moss-bank of a stream, 

The milk-white haw-flowers blow ; 
I sit to see the children play, 

And hear their laughter ring, 
Then my life's December feels the ray 
Of youth's green Spring, 
Youth's sweet Spring — 
The heart's bright Spring — 
The golden morn of life's romance — 
Youth's gay Spring ! 

Man, when in thy green years, 

How beautiful thou art ! 
Till the wintry day of age seres 

The rose-bloom of thy heart ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 375 

Then with feeble steps you move about — 

A solitary thing, 
Like fallen Adam driven out 
From Eden's sunny Spring ! 
Youth's bright Spring — 
The heart's sweet Spring — 
The fairy hours of life and love — 
Youth's gay Spring ! 



THE MOUNTAINS. 

I olimb'd to the mountain's heavenward brow, 

Till I seem'd to stand 'mid the gold-brow'd stars ; 
While far, like a dull, cold vision, below, 

Lay the crime-stain'd earth, with its plagues and wars. 
The trees of the valley were at my feet, 

With their green heads bow'd to the morning sun, 
And the birds 'mid the glistening boughs sang sweet, 

As happy souls in the light of God's throne. 

The clouds open'd round me their silvery arms, 

As if bidding me welcome to heaven, awhile — ■ 
The winds, like unseen wizards, muttering charms, 

Whisper'd vernal life to the cold, dead soil. 
On the blue heath-flower hung the drops of morning, 

Like tears of love in a young maiden's eye; 
And the fresh dew-mists, from the plains returning, 

Arose, like spirits, to their native sky. 

The cloud-shades were, like sunny spectres, chasing 

Each other o'er the emerald of the hill ; 
The streams, exultant, down the rocks were racing, 

Like young fawns bounding at their own free will. 
On the brier's arm sat the crimson berries, 

Rock'd gently by the zephyrs' breathing wings ; 
On the weird fern the night-dance of the Fairies 

Circled the dewy sheets with airy rings. 

Oh, ye Mountains ! ye sublime aspirants 

Of light and gloom ! ye haunts of solitude ! 
No sickly slaves, nor iron-handed tyrants 

On the dark glory of your shades intrude ! 
On you the fogs encamp, the rain-cloud settles 

To rest its burden ere it moves at large ; 
On you the tempests fight their mighty battles, 

While the big thunder sounds the roaring charge ! 



376 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

O'er you the sullen eagle makes his highway, 

In the fierce freedom of his flight alone : 
Down your dark sides the torrent shapes its by-way, 

Like a wroth god descending from his throne ! 
Your craggy foreheads are the lightning's pavement- 

Your heathery beard is sing'd by meteors red ; 
On you dim midnight wears her gloomiest raiment, 

And sits, with all her clouds, upon your head ! 

God wove a robe of grandeur round you flowing — 

The summer's brightness and the winter's snows ; 
And oft his bolts, from heaven's furnace glowing, 

Are smash'd to fiery atoms on your brows ! 
In your gray bosom sleeps the dusky vaj:>our, 

And 'mid the silent blackness of your frown 
The ghostly wild-fire lights its nightly taper, 

And, redly glinting, to the plain flies down ! 

Freedom's true spirits in your laps are born, 

To right the land God gave their sires to till ; 
At your green feet springs up the spiry corn 

Whose yellow waves the teeming valleys fill. 
Oh, ye grand ramparts of insulted freedom ! 

Why do your peasants from your shelter fly, 
And let the tyrant and the brute succeed 'em, 

Ye glorious Hills of Erin answer — Why ? 



A SUMMER LOVE DREAM. 

I dream of you in the flowering time, 

When the summer is all aglow, 
And the kingly sun flings his heavenly fire 

On the blossoms that laugh below — 
When the fairy birds, like living harps, 

Give a voice to the woodland wide, 
Then I dream of you, as I walk alone, 

And wish you were by my side ! 

I dream of you, when the moonlight dew, 

Lies white on the glistening mead, 
And the world with silent wonder looks up 

At her beautiful sisters array'd — 
And a honey-drop, from the angels' feast, 

Seems into my soul to glide ; 
Then I dream of you, at that lovely hour, 

And wish you were by my side ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOND. 377 

I dream of you, in the bowery grove, 

In the hush of the glowing noon, 
When the lusmore-bells wear a richer dye, 

In the sultry breath of June ; 
And the fairy hum of the fleeting bee. 

And the sound of the restless tide, 
Weave their pensive spells round my musing soul, 

Then I wish you were by my side ! 

I'm ever in love, for my heart is fresh, 

With the dews of ethereal spring, 
And my spirit is drunk with the magic wine 

Of each beauteous and brilliant thing ! 
And my banquet-hall is the dark-green wood, 

With its bloom in the sun-beams dyed — 
Oh, living rose of my charmed soul, 

I wish you were by my side ! 

The world is old — and the selfish and cold 

Are daily increasing there, 
And the glory and love of its youthful time 

Have flown to some other sphere. 
The gold of life has changed to brass, 

And the flowers of the heart have died ; 
In the heavenly Eden where they are gone, 

I wish we were side by side ! 

Thank God ! who gave my soul a wing 

To fly where the eagle flies ! 
And freshend the blossoms of my heart, 

With the dew of his holy skies ! 
And, with the desert-honey of song, 

Has sweeten'd my life's dark void, 
And sent me one of His Angels of Love 

To sit at my poor hearth side ! 



GOLDEN-HAIRED ANNIE. 

A SONG OF THE IRISH EXODUS. 

Sweet is the heath on the blue hills of Ara — 
Rich are the flowers in the fields of Clonlara ; 
Bright are the woods, when the morn laughs o'er them, 
Where Shannon's gray billows are dancing before them. 
But richer and brighter than all those together — 
Woods, waters, and wild hills, and purple-bellM heather- 
Is a sweet little spot in the vale of Kiioc-Many, 
The birth-place and home of young golden-hair'd Annie. 
25 



373 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TIIOMOXD. 

Mild by the brooklet the primrose is glowing — 
Willi in the hedge-row the haw-blossom's blowing ; 
White on the bank-slope the daisy is springing, 
Light o'er the hill-broom the fresh gale is singing — ■ 
Trees, flowers, and birds are at home with each other, 
Praising the bounty of Nature, their mother ; 
But happiest of all sings young golden-haired Annie, 
A-milking her cow in the vale of Knoc-Many ! 

Fair, o'er yon moss-crag, the brier-rose is flushing, — 
Clear from the blue rock the rill-spring is gushing ; 
Bright looks the furze, with its star-clusters mellow — 
Blythe hymns the lark in the cloud's bosom yellow. 
Creature ! go forth — lo ! the morning is rosy — 
Nature is radiant and rich with God's poesy — 
See, 'mid the dew-lawns, how golden-haired Annie 
Trips home, with her pail, thro' the vale of Knoc-Many i 

In Erin there's many a green valley, pleasant, 
But vainly enrich'd by the sweat of the peasant, 
For the lords of the soil, and the laws that enslave him, 
Deny him the fruits of the plains which God gave him ! 
And off to the land where the Star Banner 's glowing, 
The pride, hope, and health of our Island are going — 
Oh, curst be oppression ! — young golden-hair'd Annie 
Is gone, with the rest, from the vale of Knoc-Many ! 

Air of the mountain, there's grief in your sighing ! 

"Where, bleak on the cold sward, her cottage is lying — 

Bowers of the valley, her looks ceased to bless ye ! 

Flowers of the meadow, her feet will not press ye ! 
Skybird that sings to the beauty of morning ! 
You'll see her no more, from the bright field returning, 
With a voice like your own, when, on light wing ascending, 
"Where the hues of the rainbow in glory are blending ! 

Sing on, little bird, on your sun-gilded pinion ! 
Landlords can't trouble your lofty dominion ; 
High 'mid the clouds yon have taken your station, 
Far, far from the reach of the brutes of creation ! 

I'll climb to the top of the hill, to be near you ! 

I'll sit on the red-blossom'd heather to hear you ! 

Your sweet strains remind me of golden-hair'd Annie, 

When she iirst sang of love, in the vale of Knoc-Many ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 379 

THE BATTLE OF BUNRATTY,* 
a.d. 1311. 

All night, in Bunratty, the forges glow, 

And the smiths are busy about the fires, 
For the Lord of the Castle, to meet the foe, 

Five hundred spears for the field requires ; 
The scouts are abroad in valley and wood — 

The aids are rapidly coming in ; 
To-morrow shall be a red day of blood — 

Make haste with the spears for De Clare's brave men ! 
Ding, dong, ding, the anvils ring, 

As the hammers clash on the burning bars, 
While, to and fro, at each fiery blow, 

The white sparks shoot, like little stars. 
Ten men at the rusty anvils toil, 

Shaping the red bars to weapons keen ; 
Ten more at the vices, with rasp and file, 

Polishing off the rough blades, are seen : 
The bellows roar and the quick flames soar — 

Sledge, hammer, and rasp, are dinning away ; 
And when dawn appears, five hundred spears 

Shall be ready to shine in the dashing fray — ■ 
And the grim smiths sang to the iron clang, 

" To-morrow the bloodhounds and wolves shall tear 
The flesh of each other, for right and for wrong, — 

Make haste with the spears for the fierce De Clare !" 
Ding, dong, ding, the sledges ring, 

With a mighty swing on the bars blood-red, 
While the dusky gleams of the dancing flames 

Glare up, like fiends, from their raging bed, 

All night in the Castle the banquet smoked — 
Stewards and warders were busy kept ; 

* This battle was fought on an extensive field adjoining the Castle of 
Bunratty, The action commenced on the morning of the 14th of May, 
1311. There exists no real account of the numbers engaged on either side, 
but it is very probable that the armies were considerably strong, and the 
commanders were men of princely blood and high military distinction. 
Dermod O'Brien was joined by the clans of eastern Thomond, with De 
Clare of Bunratty and his Norman troops, to depose Donogh O'Brien, 
the rightful King of the Dalgais. Donogh, after a valiant fight, was de- 
feated, leaving the best of his officers and the flower of his troops dead 
on the field. Six hundred of his veteran gallowglasses were cut to pieces, 
and but a few of his footmen, i.e., kerns, survived the battle. The los* 
of the confederates was also very great. Tradition tells that De Clare's 
policy on that day kept his Norman band in reserve, while the Irish on 
both sides were cutting each other down ; he did not bring his troops into 
action until he saw Dermod and the llym-bioid clans nearly exhausted, and 
then he issued to their assistance, repulsed Donogh' s prevailing arms, and 
snatched the victory from his hand. 



380 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Over their ale- cans the soldiers joked, 

And not an eye of a thousand slept. 
Cooks and attendants, with weary hands, 

Huge sirloins carried from kitchen to ha 
And every hour, as the march-tired bands 

Arrived at the gates, there was plenty for a 

Full twenty chiefs in the council sate, 

Discussing the plan of the morrow's fight, 
And twenty arm'd aids-de-camp wait 

On their surly lords, all the long, dull night — 
Till heralds announced that the foe's war-van 

Was rapidly moving on Cuill-na-lawn; 
Then the rising chiefs for their arms ran, 

And armour and broadswords were buckled on, 
And orders were issued to every clan, 

In battle -array to be drawn — 
The war-horns bray'd, and the war-steeds neighed, 

And the banners were flung to the cold dawn air — 
On every side, thro' the courtyard wide, 

They were rushing, and mustering here and there — 
Out on the lawns of the Castle tall, 

March'd many a bearded and banded clan — 
Forth from the Castle's majestic hall 

Strode many a lordly and lofty man — 
Steel glimmer'd, like flitting rays of light, 

Along the lawns, 'mid the wood-shades brown ; 
Collected in groups, on the tower's dim height, 

Ladies and servants stood gazing down. 
But where is Dermot the evil-eyed, 

Whose wild ambition the hosting form'd? 
Like a lightning-cloud, by the ash-grove's side, 

The dark chief stands, with a broad axe arm'd. 
And the withering fire of his sullen eye 

Seem'd to blast the verdure it look'd upon; 
While over his bead, in the dawning sky, 

A flame-edged cloud, like a blood-speck, shone. 
There's a beam on his stern brow's cloudy shade, 

As, in gloomy triumph, his wolf-eye scann'd 
His glittering spears in close lines array'd, 

And the firrn-set front of each steady band. 

To serve the usurper, O'Cearneigh* came 

From the golden borders of Raite's tide; 
And many a lord of valorous name — 
Whose deeds were long the " Smiiadues " theme — 

* All those chiefs whose names appear in those eleven lines were leaders 
of the clans of Ilym-bloid, or Eastern Thoniond, and in general united 
with the De Clares to overthrow the senior branch, of the O'Briens, and 
exalt the junior one. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 381 

Wild waves and whirlwinds all were tame 

To their chivalry's fiery pride. 
O'Shanahain bold, O'Kennedy stern, 

O'Conaing, O'Hogain, and stout O'Hearn ; 
O'Lonargain of the silver brands ;* 
O'Congail of the numerous flocks, 
And O'Ceaffa, from Glenderg's mountain-rocks, 

Were there with their stormy bands. 
In his iron towers De Clare remained 

To watch the events of the awful day, 
And his fierce reserves, like wolf-hounds chain'd, 

In the square of the ample courtyard lay. 

Lo ! — there's a stir on the crowded plain, 

'Mid the wavy ridges of slanting spears ; 
The enemy's coming ! — again and again 

The heavens are smote with his hostile cheers — 
And, pouring out, in the sun's broad blaze, 

From the misty skirt of the woodlands brown, 
Rank after rank, like moving seas, 

Came Donogh's clans the wild hill -side down. 
Clan Cuilen's race of gigantic men 

March'd first of the desperate powers ; 
Next came O'Loghlin and tall O'Quin, 

And fierce O'Dea from Magowna's towers.f 
The Clanna Dongail, J of stubborn deeds, 

With their flame-headed spears, was there, 
In number, like the autumnal reeds 

That circle the lakes of woody Clare. 
A spear-cast from his army's van, 

Proud Donogh, with Lord T)e Burgo, rode, 
A stern, majestic, princely man, 

Whose " ylibbe"§ like a morning sun-cloud flow'd. 
His curling il crommeal"\\ hid his lip, 

His clustering beard to his breast-plate fell ; 
His "cochal"M flowed to his stalwart hip, 

And his " goclial"** fitted him tight and well. 
Two jewels in his helmet gleam'd, 

Beneath his tall plume's quivering wing, 
And the dignity of his eye proclaimed 

The haughty soul of an Irish king. 
Sternly tramp'd his host behind, 

Surging to the battle's brunt, 

* The silver-hilted brands. 

t The Castle of Magowna and the Castle of Dysert were the family- 
seats of the warlike O'Deas of Inchiquin. A firm and faithful friendship 
existed, during centuries, between this brave sept and the senior branch 
of the O'Briens. 

* The O'Gradys. 

§ Coolun, or long locks. 

fl Hair on the upper lip. 

H A cloak. 

** A tight-fitting jacket of striped leather. 



382 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And soon the several bands stood lined 

Against each other, front to front. 
War-pipes, with a savage breath, 
Sung the banquet-hymn of death — 
O'er the hills, and through the wold, 
The martial anthem rung and roll'd. 
Souls are thrilling — hearts are beating — 

As each dark host came in sight ; 
Blood from proud cheeks is retreating, 

Leaving face and forehead white. 
Friars * breathing prayers, are waiting 

To attend each dying man — 
Busy captains are completing 

The arrangement of each clan, 
While the horrid spear-groves, meeting, 

Form their ridges, left and right, 
With the trumpets' dirge repeating 

Notice of the coming fight — 
And the fiercely-featured leaders, 

In their martial harness bound, 
Proud as eagles, tall as cedars, 

In the fore-front take their ground. 
Banners streaming, axes gleaming, 

Armour'd champions, gilded steeds, 
Valour-mettled ranks embattled, 

Throng Bunratty's wounded meads — 
Black clouds gather round the heather, 

And the red sun closed his eye ; 
Mists assembled, and resembled 

Funeral feathers in the sky. 
With a stifled croak, the raven 

On the tower-top grimly stood — 
Pale rays pointed down from heaven, 

Like spectres' fingers ring'd with blood — 
Round the cairn moaned the fern, 

As the wind-gust brush 'd the hill ; 
Shriek'd the dark trees, like a death-song, 

And the spear-grass whistled shrill. 

The signal's given — the war-fiends rise — 

Phalanx on phalanx flung 
Its might, like the crash of the riven skies, 

When the thunder's mine is sprung. 
Chief charged chief, and host charged host, 

In one yelling "melee" dire, 
Till the reddening face of the plain was lost 

In a whirl of iron-fire! 
" Lamh L aider ! + on them!" Donagh cries, 

And his clan, like a hill-flood, broke 

♦Friars from the Abbey of ; Bunratty," built by the Dc Clares. 
+ Pronounced, Lauv Lauder. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF TITOMOND. 383 

To the strong steel-heart of his enemies, 

With headlong thrust and stroke ! 
Into the war- wolves' pack they dash, 

Like wedges thro' flint-rocks drove, 
Or a hundred axes cleaving ash 

In the heart of the quivering grove. 
But backward roll'cl their prowess proud, 

By the steel of their foes o'erturn'd, 
As eagles fly from a flaming cloud, 

By the angry lightning burn'd. 

For a while the clang of death 

Subsided o'er the red-hued plain ; 
The war-god was but taking breath, 

To roar for draughts of blood again! 
And, tightening up their wounded strength, 
The gather'd ranks recharged, at length, 
While their wild shouts to heaven roll'd on,| 
Like bursting seas, one after one — 
Densely moved the surging masses, 
Kerns, bonnachts, and (jallowglaws, 
Like rain-swell'd floods thro' the dark-hill passes, 

Leaping from opposite sides. 
And furiously dashing headlong in 
To the bosom of the wintry glen, 
Thus, desperately, those wrathful men 

To the fight flung their banded tides. 

Thrice was Dermod's battle broken, 

And thrice he rallied and held his ground ; 
Havoc left its reeking token 

In his steel-thinn'd lines around, 
Donogh saw the time and chance 

Of the victory were at hand ; 
Holding up his gold-ring'd lance, 

He shouted loudly to his band — 
"Lo! proud Dermod's columns shake — 
The iron vultures are grown weak ; 
Charge, De Burgo! "J arrah!" "farrali!"* 
Onward — onward — M acConmara ! 
Bear them down — ranks, flags, and leaders — 
As a storm o'erthrows the cedars ! 
See the fiery war-clouds breaking, 
And their banner'd lines are shaking ! 
Ere De Clare comes forth to aid them, 
Let the sum of blood be paid them ! 
On them, warriors of ' Lamh La'idlr !' 
Knit your souls and charge together — 
Grasp your war-axe handles shorter — 
Glut your steel and give no quarter !" 

* Hurry, hurry. 



38! r.AYS AND LEGEXDS OF THOMOX1) 

T)own the ])l:iin, like hill-rocks rolling, 
Dash'd the war-bands of Clancuilen, 
Fierce as demons, full six hundred 
On proud Permod's phalanx thundered! 
Baci-. they huiTd tliem — chief on chief — 

Ca ;]]'d with many a bloody mark, 
As the -^.'a -waves on a reef 

1'luv.rs a. Wt, bark after bark — 
Chin \»-is d riven into clan, 
Smashing centre, flank and van — 
! foreman trample! footman down, 
hi one tangled war-coil thrown — 
Then the spears, like fiery rowels, 
Burst t:;ro* bleeding breasts and bowels ; 
And the sweeping w ir-axe, speedy 
For destruction, grim and greedy, 
Eat the armour, thro' and thro', 
"With a tooth of lightning-hue. 
.Men as strong as stormy billows, 
Were cut down, like perish'd willows ; 
Blood-drops fell, like showers of lire, 
Smoking 'midst the sodden mire, 
Which the warriors' trampling feet 
Into crimson mortar beat. 
And the banner of " Lartih Laidir" 
Danced above the whirling slaughter — 
Like a plague-cloud streaming down 
O'er an earth<piake-ruined town — 
Sling-stones smote and arrows tore it, 
Still the gallant bearer bore it ; 
Round it, in one roaring surge, 
Javelin, falchion, axe and targe 
Blazed and clash VI, in mingled clangor, 
Like the ocean in its anger, 

Leaning o'er the parapet's breast, 
On the Castle's rocky crest, 
High as spirits throned in air, 
Stood the household of Do Clare, 
Looking down, with thrilling wonder, 
On the war-flood rolling under. 

Thundering, towards the Raite's marge, 
Swung the battle's burning surge ; 
On the spear-grass and the reeds 
Core-drops hung, like coral beads. 
In the river's bed of gloom 
Dermod's host had found a tomb, 
But De Clare, the flight beholding, 
His strong Castle-gates unfolding 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND 385 

Hurl'd forth his gfim war-beagles 
On brave Donogh's fiery eagles : 
Madly to the right they spring, 
Like the hurricane's headlong swing — ■ 
Sway'd the war-mass to and fro, 
As crashing on the ranks they go ; 
O'er the steep verge of the stream, 
Clash'd and flash' d the iron flame ; 
Backward from the reeling bank, 
Rank is driven after rank, 
Blent on one recoiling torrent, 
As the mill-wheel hurls the current — 
Thick as corn-sheaves, man on man, 
Fell the yellow-shirted clan ; 
Bloody weapons shriek 'd and shiver'd, 
As the death-strokes were delivered ; 
Round the towers the thunder-clang 
Of the desperate conflict rang. 
Like a broken wave, fierce-boiling, 
From a jagged cliff recoiling, 
Donogh's clans were borne amain, 
Disorder'd o'er the deadly plain, 
Lord and baron, knight and squire, 
Perish'd in the battle's fire — 
Here and there they lay about, 
With their giant-limbs stretched out, 
Stout and stiff as fallen oaks, 
Stark and still as cloven-rocks — 
And their stony eyes, upturn'd — 
Where no more a soul-beam burn'd, 
Glared, reflecting frigidly 
The light they could no longer see. 
Youth, in its spring-year of gold, 
Manhood in its noblest mould, 
There lay dead on every side, 
For a royal dream destroyed ! 

There's no more of Donogh's host — 
Throne and army — all are lost ! 
Bleeding, thro' the forest fled 
The living remnant from the dead, 
And the wounded prince alone 
Thro' the dark woods stagger'd on : 
His sick soul weeping in his eye, 
And a deep spear-head in his thigh ; 
Heart-wither'd, weary, feeble, faint, 
Against a tree the warrior leant, 
While, on the low breath of the wind, 
He heard the blood-wolves' howl behind. 
O Mercy ! are his friends all gone — 
Is no one near him ? — no, not one ! 



386 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Yes, there's one whom he had known, 
When his full noon of glory shone, — 
A kinsman of his name and blood, 
Still lingers near him in the wood ; 
One who to power he lifted up, 

And honour in an evil day, — 
Oh, wine pour'd in a rotten cup ! 

Oh, worth on baseness thrown away ! 
Keen on the blood-trail of his prince, 

The traitor sought the desert- place ; 
He gazed on him, with confidence, 

And gladness, in his sickly face. 
" Thank heaven !" he cried, "one hope is near, 

One helping arm to aid my way ! 
A friend, in this dark hour of fear, 

Is more than armies yesterday !" 
With the last accent on his tongue, 

"Welcome! brave arm of help!" he cried, 
When the foul murderer forward sprung, 

And ran a javelin thro' his side ! 
Wrath of the Holy Spirit ! fall, 

Thou more than demon, on thy soul ! 
May fire-plagues turn thy heart to gall, 

Black as hell's blackest burning coal ! 
Oh. may thy tenfold hideous deed 

Weigh, like a mill-stone, on thy hand, 
And all thy hateful, future seed 

Die by a foul assassin's brand ! 
May the Recording Angel trace, 

In blood-lines, with his weeping pen, 
Thy crime, accurst, detested, base, 

Ne'er to be blotted out again.* 



THE FAIRY GLEN.f 

There's a glen 'mid the dark hills of Cappantimore, 

Where the hazel-bowers play to the sweet mountain-air ; 
Thro' summer and autumn, and winter-time hoar, 

Spring's beauty, in all its green freshness, is there. 
On the slopes of the valley the vernal moss weaves 

Its emerald sheets in the red rowans' shade ; 
Thro' the grove, like a golden hall, wreathed with leaves, 

The wild mountain -harp of the echoes is play'd. 

* For a further detail of the above tragedy, see a poem called "The 
Murdered Prince," in tin's volume. The annalists record, and tradition re- 
ports, that this perfidious assassin was made wealthy and raised to a very 
high post of honour and trust by Prince Donogh, in fact, he was his 
favourite companion and most confidential friend. Alas ! for dark, selfish, 
ungrateful, and treacherous human nature. 

+ This romantic Glen is in the ancient territory of Clan Cuilen. It now 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 387 

In its deep lap of shadows, a fairy-voiced flood, 

Like an organ, sings on, with its choir of wild tones, 
And its wavelets are honied with blossom and bud, 

In their silvery dance o'er the pale-yellow stones, 
And the hawthorns, clad with a white cloud of sweets, 

Look up to the hill's purple helmet of broom, 
As if winning the breeze from its sunny retreats, 

To bear off the wealth of their sleeping perfume. 

There the blackberries glisten, like dark maiden-eyes, 

Peeping out from the shades in the calm harvest ray, 
And the ripe nuts, like golden hail flung from the skies, 

Fall down as if fairies had dropp'd them in play. 
Oh, to hear, at red eve, how^ the throstle's notes gush'd, 

Like a silver-key'd flute, the green vistas among ; 
While the trees, like a crowd of admirers, stood hush'd, 

As if drinking the passion that thrill'd in the song. 

To that valley of streams, with a song-bird's delight, 

Oft I fled from the sin-dark en'd heart of the town ; 
And stray'd 'mid its desert of blossoms, till night, 

Like a shadowy dream of God's beauty, came down ! 
Then my heart, like a May-tree, was flowering with joy, 

And love, like sweet honey-dew, gush'd in its core ; 
'Till care's cloudy Autumn came on to destroy 

That heart-bloom which Spring-time shall brighten no 
more ! 

As a lover remembers his passion's rich dreams, 

When his soul, like a wild rose, was glowing and young ; 
Thus I dream of past joy in that vale of blue streams, 

When the mist o'er my brow, like a diamond-arch, hung ! 
Tho' my soul's summer vision has ended in gloom, 

And life's pleasant May-day of brightness is o'er, 
Yet my fancy is fresh with the sweetness and bloom 

Of that scene 'mid the dark hills of Cappantimore. 

forms a part of the large estate of John C. Delmege, Esq., J.P., "who, at 
immense cost, reclaimed the surrounding hills, and made them fruitful to 
their highest summits. Places -which produced nothing hut furze, brier, 
and fern since the creation, are now turned into hundreds of rich acres by 
his persevering industry. If the reckless absentees would remain at home, 
like him, and follow is improving example, very little waste land would 
be seen in Ireland. 



388 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

COLLEEN DHU. 

A WINTER LOVE-SONG. 

In Ballycar the woods are bare — 

On Truagh's hills the frost is gray ; 
And, thro' the pass of wild Doonas, 

The rock-cleft torrents surge and sway — 
In lone Glenmore the fern is hoar — 

On moor and marsh the mists are blue, 
But winter's lea had sweets for me, 

When meeting thee, my Colleen Dhu !* 

The flower-roots spread beneath our tread — 

Their little stems and leaves were gone, 
But yet the heart-flowers are not dead, 

Which grew for you, my dove-eyed one. 
No frost-blight drear could ever sere 

The spring-bloom of my love for you ! 
A summer-day, thro' all the year, 

Are you to me, my Colleen Dhu ! 

On Boolah's head the broom was red — 

The corn was reap'd — the summer gone — 
The dark-brown clouds their shadows spread 

Along the landscape wild and wan, 
When, by the side of Shannon's tide, 

As fell the silent twilight dew, 
I met you there, my heart's sweet share, 

My fairest fair ! my Colleen Dhu ! 

My life was as a sunless thing, — 

A dead leaf on a withering tree, — 
Till you, like heaven's dawn of Spring, 

With beam and blossom came to me — 
My heart was as a lonely well, 

That song or sunshine never knew, 
Until your beauty's radiance fell 

Into its depths, my Colleen Dhu ! 

And tho' the sentence was severe, 
That bade our souls each other shun, 

Yet from our hearts it could not tear 
^ The golden tie that love had spun — 

Our adverse fate made doubly sweet 
Each happy, stolen interview, 

And then our rapture when we'd meet, 
Was more than sweet, my Colleen Dhu ! 

* Dark little girl. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

1 sat by Avondoun, last May, 

Upon a glowing primrose throne ; 
A world of brightness round me lay — 

God's arch of gold above me shone — 
But, oh, my heart was empty still, 

Because, sweet life, it wanted you, 
With all your wealth of love, to fill 

Its passion's grasp, my Colleen Dim ! 

I never look'd on thy young face, 

Without a soul-thrill of delight ! 
Then, when I sought my resting-place, 

I dreamt of angels all the night — 
The fresh, wild spring-rose on the lawn, 

Set in a silver ring of dew — 
The sweetness of the summer dawn, 

Remind me of my Colleen Dku ! 

I wish I were a mountain-fay, 

And you a little honey cup ! 
I'd range the summer-fields all day, 

To find you out, and drink you up ! 
Your soul within my soul, we'd live 

The long years of creation thro', 
And heaven alone could only give 

An equal joy, my Colleen Dhu! 



THE LAST OF THE ROYAL O'BRIENS.* 

a.d. 1539. 

a legend of the house of thomond. 

Hark ! was it the blast that shrieked down the dark hill, 
Where a red torrent rolls, which last night was a rill ? 
Or was it the demon, who rides on the nood, 
That sent his weird shout thro' the arch of the wood ? 

* Connor O'Brien, the last King of Thomond, who exercised, to the 
close of his life, the functions of royalty, died in the year 1539. With him 
the royal sway of the illustrious and ancient descendants of Brian Boru 
"became extinct. So great was his power that, after the rebellion arid 
execution of Silken Thomas of Kildare, he took the young son of the Earl 
under his protection, and defiantly refused to yield him up to the tyrant, 
Henry VIII., who used every effort to induce O'Brien to place the gallant 
young Geraldine in his power. Threats, appeals, and intrigues, were all in 
vain; the stubborn O'Brien was faithful to his charge, and the enraged 
Henry was baulked in his design of extinguishing the heir of ,the princely 
Geraldines. 

The above legend is connected with Connor's return from Galway, after 
conveying the English Deputy, Lord Leonard Grey, under his safe conduct 
to that town. In his encampment, on his way home, the family Spirit of 
the House of Thomond is supposed to have appeared to him, and to have 
forewarned him of the extinction of his royal line, and the miseries that 
were fast approaching his country 



390 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

" O'Brien ! O'Brien ! arise from thy couch ! 

Grasp thy war-axe, the bands of the Saxon approach ! 

See tneir banners and plumes 'mid the gloom of the plain, — 

The fiends, in their vengeance, are muster'd again ! 

" Dark Prince of the war-eagles ! hark ye ! awaken ! 
The spoils of thy battle-famed kingdom are taken ! 
Thy foes are abroad on thy borders foraying, 
Lord Leonard's grim blood-hounds are furiously baying !" 

The chieftain arose from his couch, as a hound 
That starts up when he hears the wild chase-horn sound — 
And he looked thro' the night for the warner in vain, 
But he saw no tall banners nor plumes on the plain. 

There's a curse on his tongue, and there's death in his arm, 
For the dastard who gave the illusive alarm ! 
And he stood, in his wrath as if fronting the foe, 
Like a tower with a thunder-cloud wrapt o'er its brow. 

Again he lay down, and again the voice came, 

Like a wind-gust that fans sleeping embers to flame — 

His angry soul blazed at the warning it gave, 

And he leap'd from his couch, like the bound of ,a wave. 

His eye swept the plain, like the wild-fire's red gleam, 
And he stampt, like a lion aroused from a dream ; 
His guards are asleep, and the cold midnight sky, 
Look'd dark as the passion that burned in his eye. 

The clouds lie, like ghosts, on the mountain's black pillow — 

The echoes are timing the chant of the billow — 

The valley is dreary — the crisped autumn-leaves, 

At the feet of the chief, roll'd their pale-yellow waves. 

Tho' the midnight was moonless, a bird could not fly 
Unknown to the search of his far-shooting eye, 
Yet the warrior saw nought but a gray Druid stone, 
Where the moss and the bramble for ages had grown. 

But why is the head of that old rock so white ? 
Or is it the snow-spirit sits on its height ? 
Or some worshipper's soul that, in ages long gone, 
Knelt there at that altar, adoring the sun 1 

Tis the mould of a woman— ^the dark chief tain seds 
TH© white hem of her drapery stirr'd by ihe breeze, 
And her hair did her forehead and shoulders festoon, 
Like the mist's dusky fringe round the ring of the moon. 



LATS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 38* 

"Who art thou?" said the prince, striding forward a pace. 

With his gleaming eyes set on her cold, dreary face, 

But he shrank, with his burning glance quench'd by the 

charm 
Of the dark, solemn beauty that froze round her form. 

And the awful-toned voice, that broke in on his dreaming, 
Again smote his soul, with its ominous screaming, 
Now distant — now near, 'rose the ghostly sound breaking, 
As if 'twere the wind or the cloud that was speaking. 

While the cold spirit-figure sat still, without motion, 
Like a white pile of rock-surf flung up from the ocean, 
And her lips seem'd unmoved, as if frozen together, 
Like flakes of new snow on the bleak wintry-heather, 

" Thus Destiny's mandate the sentence has spoken — 
O'Brien ! O'Brien ! thy sceptre is broken ! 
And the race of the kings, than the forest oaks stronger, 
That reign'd for a thousand years, reigneth no longer 1 

" The brood of the eagle shall change into swallows — 
The pines of the mountain shall dwindle to willows, 
And the brave souls that walked in the glory of freemen, 
Shall bend to the * Galls ' * with the weakness of women I 

" Lo ! the cloud of the curse o'er the valleys is swelling ! 

A skeleton stands at the door of each dwelling '. 

God's angels shall weep for the fearful disasters 

That await on the Gael, when the land shall change masters ! 

" On the hills where the tempest its cloudy robe gathers, 
Assembled, in grief, are the ghosts of your fathers, 
They mourn for their sons, and the black doom that's coming 
To lay them, like weeds, at the feet of their foemen ! 

" The Dragon f has broken the arm of rebellion — 
The brave Silken Thomas has died, like a felon ! X 
The lordly MacWilliam, Clanrickarde's high leader, 
Has bow'd his proud head to the merciless raider ! 

• Foreigners. t Henry VIII.1 

$ " Silken Thomas, after a fruitless straggle to overthrow the'government 
of Henry VIII. , was executed at Tyburn, along with his five uncles, on 
February 3rd., 1537. The main cause of his failure Was the betrayal or the 
great fortress of Maynooth into the hands of his enemies, by his foster- 
brother, Piraz or Pierce, for a large bribe. When the Lord Deputy, Skoi- 
fington, was after getting possession ofjthe castle, he asked the traitor about 
his connection with Lord Thomas, and the many favours bestowed on him 
by that nobleman. Being answered in the affirmative, he ordered the gold, 
the price of his treason, to be brought and counted to him. " Yon axe paid 
now. according to our compact!" said the Deputy, then turning to his 
minions, he commanded them to seize Piraz and hang him on the nearest 
tree, remarking that he was no longer fit to live, after such * baee *et of _ 
ing»titudeaJiapejrndy. ,, --J5rMtoryo/tA«G t eraW»n««. J 



3$2 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

" In vain has O'Carroll,* his war-axes wielded — 
Modereny's strong towers to the spoiler have yielded ! 
And the princely O'Kennedy's tall gallowglasses 
Are worried, like wolves, in their dark mountain-passes ! 

"Maclbrien of Ara, thy kinsman and alley, 
Has crouch'd to Lord Grey, like the fawn of the valley— 
And the blood of thy house, where the mighty once flourish'd, 
Henceforth, like the weed of the field, shall be nourish'd ! 

" Lo ! Connor shall march against Morogh, his brother, 
To poison with rancour the milk of his mother, 
Ana his sons shall contend, in their moon-eyed ambition,, 
To make to the stranger the meanest submission ! 

"Ha! the black discord seeds which your sires have been 
sowing, 

To a harvest of curses are rapidly growing, 

Your power shall be crushed, and your pride shall be hum- 
bled, 

Your feuds shall be hush'd, and your palaces tumbled ! 

" For the judgment of God, on a red thunder-pinion, 
Shall cleave to the heart of your blood-stain'd dominion ! 
All Erin must die, and the death shall not leave her, 
Till her sons heal the wounds which their rank discords gave 
her! 

"For ages on ages, each new generation 

Shall perish, like leaves, on the grave of the nation ! 

When the hope of their hearts shall be brightest and dearest, 

The withering curse of despair shall be nearest .' 

" O'Brien I O'Brien ! the sentence is spoken ! 
Thy life- wine is drank, and thy regal cup broken ! 
The shadows of death on thy house have descended — 
The black doom is sealed, and thy kingdom is ended !" 

As the blue, living fountain is chill'd into death 
By the cold midnight spell of the North's icy breath, 
Tnus the chieftain s hot blood, like a stagnated stream, 
Stood tidelesa and dull in its channels of flame. 

He gazed on the gray rock — the figure was gone, 
Like the dew's airy mist on the plain of the sun — 
He gazed on the dim wold, but saw nothing there, 
Save the trees with their red foliage trembling and sere. 

• Mac William, O'Carroll, O'Kennedy, and Maclbrien, were tributaries 
totneKingof Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

Again the hoarse mountain-blast shriek'd thro* the wood, 
And the wither'd brier sigh'd, like a ghost, by the flood, 
As the chieftain strode sullenly back to his tent, 
With his dark, thoughtful eyes on the gloomy sward bent. 

Nine suns flung their gold on the towers of Clonroad, 
And brighten'd the gray hills of cloudy Hymbloid, 
But ere the tenth dawn streak'd the orient with red, 
The last of the Royal O'Briens was dead ! 



THE PEASANT TO HIS EMIGRANT DAUGHTER. 

Acuishla 7710 8toir! do I see the day 

You are leaving your poor f ather s side ? 
You, who kept the dark cloud from my heart away, 

Since my sunny-hair'd Nora died ! 
Sure I see her soul in your bashful glance, 

And you've borrowed her fawn-like form, 
That first, in the ring of the village-dance, 

Fill'd my heart with a fairy charm. 

Your modest cheek with her bright blush glows, 

Like the west cloud's roseate stain, 
And your lips are, like hers, as the young Spring rose, 

When 'tis wet with the morning rain ! 
And you have her voice, like the songful breeze, 

When the blossoms of May are white 
On the mossy boughs of the apple-trees, 

All glistening with drops of light ! 

The daisies are fresh on her bed of rest, 

And the haw-flowers above it are fair ! 
But cold is the pulse of my lonely breast, 

Since I laid my poor darling there ! — 
" gilla mo stoirf"* come to me once more, 

Till I kiss you and clasp you again ! 
My head is grey and my heart is sore, 

For 'tis parting its living vein I 

Mo caillin /t you were a joy to me, — 

As a cloud in the noon-day sky 
Spreads its crystal veil o'er a drooping tree, 

Whose leaves with the heat are dry ! 
And your image is lock'd in my heart's deep core, 

As the honeycomb's golden cell 
Holds the mountain-bee's sweet summer-store 

Which he gather'd in vale and dell ! 

* Literally, " Child of my love P* t My little girl ! 

26 



394 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

I never thought a day would come 

To part us, achree mo stoir /* 
Till the roof was stripp'd from our woodland-home, 

At whose hearth we shall sit no more ! 
But when you shall land in the far, far West, 

And meet your brave brothers there, — 
Oh ! tell them how Ireland is oppress'd, 

But say that she don't despair! 

God guard you away to the Exile's Land ! 

But in Erin I'll die alone — 
Mavourneen ! I'd keep your lovely hand 

For ever clasp'd in my own ! 
And my heart's bright love, oh, my dear, dear one ! 

Shall follow you o'er the wave, 
But I'll go to the churchyard, when you are gone, 

And pray at your mother's grave ! 



THE FATHERS LAMENT FOR HIS CHILDREN. 

Death came to my house, like a hawk to a nest, 
And he tore my two darlings away from my breast ; 
And my heart is as lone as the nest in the tree, 
Since my sunny-eyed dear ones were taken from me ! 
December blasts howl round the gloom- vested hill, 
And the life pulse of Nature is torpid and still ; 
Yet Spring will return from the clouds of the Pole, 
But it will not revive the dead flowers of my soul ! 

Sure my Patsy's blue eyes were as blossoms of light 
That glow in the galaxy-splendours of night ; 
There was health on his cheek, like the sun-bloom we see 
On the peaches that hang on a sweet garden tree. 
Good heaven ! was it all but the dream of an hour ? 
He's gone — and without him I'm lonely and poor — 
Will you meet me no more, oh, my heart-cherish'd boy ! 
With your innocent face and your bright laugh of joy ? 

The winter will pass, with its rain-cloud and storm, 
And the spring-grass will rise o'er the dust of your form ; 
But when will the bleak, wintry darkness retire 
Which you left in the heart and the home of your sire ? 
I hoped, when the gray days of age would come on, 
To find a protection and prop in my son, 
That he'd love and care me, as I loved and cared him, 
When my hands and my eyes would grow feeble and dim ! 

And my lily-fair Maggie — my bosom's white dove — 
Whose face had the light of God's sweetness and love, 

•»* My heart's love ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 3w> 

Bid I think that the star of thy beauty's young noon 
Would lie shrouded in dust and in darkness so soon ? 
Like the delicate flower of the field was your fate,— 
So sweet was your life and so short was its date ; 
Oh ! my memory is full of the joy of your look, 
Like a modest young rose in a green, mossy nook ! 

Sure you said, ere your tongue in its death-silence lay, 
That your fond little brother had called you away 1 
Yes, he call'd you away to partake of his joy 
In the palace of God, in the halls of the sky ! 
Oh ! the thoughts of that morning are chaining my breath, 
When your fair waxen image lay frozen in death— - 
When I enter'd my house, from a long night of toil, 
And dreamt but of meeting your loving young smile. 

There you lay in death's trappings, so frigid and white, 
Like a blossom blown down by the cold winds of night : 
Your eye had no ray and your cheek had no rose, 
And your young brow was iced in its marble repose. 
A few seasons hence, you would sit by my side, 
In womanhood's sweetness and maidenly pride ! 
And my heart would exult, and my spirit grow warm 
In the joy of your eyes, and the grace of your form 1 

And lovers would come, like wild bees to a flower, 

When its young heart is wet with the dew's honey shower ; 

But God's eye may have seen through futurity's gloom, 

Some dark blight awaiting thy ripeness of bloom — 

Some gloomy affliction, or soul-killing grief, 

To slay with rank poison thy green virgin-leaf, 

And he snatch'd thee away to his kingdom of light, 

Ere thy pure angel-soul would be stained with the blight ! 

Oh, 'tis better— if a world were staked on thy life— 

To be safe with thy Maker, than be a king's wife ! 

Thy life was a transient and innocent dream, — 

Pure gold with no dross to be purged by the .flame; — 

What glory can earth with your glory compare, 

Or could earth's grandest queen wear the robes you now wear? 

The splendours of heaven are bound on your bro *r t 

And earth's queens are all needy, compared to you now! 

How many, in convent and temple, for years, 
Have knelt to their God, with devotion and tears ; 
Pray'd, fasted, and suffer'd, and struggled and etrahVd, 
For the Heaven my doves have so easily gained ?. '- 
They went in the time when his image was fresh r 
In the spirits tjhat kindled their passionless flesh, 4 j 

Ere the foul, evil mists of the world rose to dim, 
In their young gentle souls, the grand likeness of Him ! 



396 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Tho' my house and my heart are as desolate made, 

As the dreary churchyard where my darlings are laid — 

Tho' my heart, like a sere leaf when summer is gone; 

Is left in life's winter to tremble alone ! 

Yet why should I murmur — why should I repine — 

Against the high will and the mandate divine ? 

He took them away, and He has the best claim — 

They're His own — I was only their parent in name ! 



THE OUTCAST. 

Pale, at the eornecipidhe long, dark street, 

Poor child of sight, your wasted form I see ; 
The cold flags freezing up your naked feet, — 

Oh, frail; yorag blossom^ fallen from Virtue's tree! 
Deep darkpesa the congenial mask of crime, 

Attends youSf footsteps a^d befriends your shame J 
Ah ! your, sad | looks* say, once there was a time, 

When Guilt's black finger could not touch your name ! 

Was it the tongue qf sty seduction pour'd 

Its fiendish honey in your heart's young core, 
And nipt the plant which in God's garden flower'd, 

And added to sin's waste one foul weed more ? 
The world, on which an outcast you are thrown, 

Will ne'er forgive thy erring life nor thee ! 
None, save the outstretch'd arms of God alone, 

Shall e'er receive you, with a pardon free! 

You've fallen ! — Magdalen fell and rose again, 

Tho* wild and wicked the career she ran ! 
They'd cast her off, but Jesus stood between 

Her and the judgments of corrupted man ! 
He look'd into her heart — the black clouds there 

Burst and dissolv'd to drops of burning love ; 
She bathed his feet and wiped them with her hair : 

Man frown'd — God smil'd, and heaven rejoic'd above! 

Poor child of sorrow! is your mother dead? 

And did your kin the homeless daughter spurn? 
Some friendly action done — some kind words said — 

Your .straying footsteps back to grace may turn ! 
Man may seduce, betray, and nothing lose, 
. In what society character calls ; 
But ruthless is the principle which shows 

No mercy to a woman when she falls! 

Instead of lifting up the broken reed, 
The godless verdict lives to crush it down ; , 

Stern Rigour sits in judgment on her deed, 
And every hand is raised to cast the stone. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 397 

This is the spur that farther drives astray 

The reckless culprit into guilt's retreat — 
The same reproach which sought to turn away 

Poor, loving Mary from her Saviour's feet I 

Give me your hand, forlorn, one—it is cold — 

Cold as the charity of the human race ; 
In years you're young, and yet in sin you're old, 

But heaven to you may send a beam of grace — 
Poor brother man, weak sister woman — all 

Have, more or less, some cruel cross to bear; 
Oh! pity, but condemn not, those that fall — 

Life's path is slippery, and the way is drear ! 

In the short journey which wo. have to tread, 

Our footing's insecure, infirm, and frail ; 
None knoweth where the hidden, snare i& spread— 

None knoweth where or how a step may fail — 
Not always can we good from ill select, 

So weak our judgment and our will so blind! 
Great oaks have fallen while reeds have stood erect ; 

Strong ships have sunk where skiffs brave tide and wind! 

Many a pearl in the dust is cast, 

And spurn'd by the foot of ruffian pride ; 
Many a piece of dross for gold has pass'd, 

While the pure ore is basely flung aside ; 
Many a tender floweret born to bask 

In Virtue's light, is torn from its sweet bed ; 
Many a scarlet vice wears Virtue's mask, 

And " fools rush in where angels fear to tread!" 

Turn, erring sister, to thy Saviour's knee ; 

One loving tear thy darkness will dispel ; 
The spirit of his mercy smiles for thee, 

As sweet as for the child that never fell. 
For such as thee, rank vinegar and gall, 

To quench his death-thirst on the cross was given ; 
For such as thee, his longing, loving call 

Is echoed thro' the realms of earth and heaven. 

If thou hast yet the memory of one prayer — 

Thy poor, fond father taught thy lisping tongue, 
While on his knee he stroked thy curling hair, 

When thou wert sweet, pure, innocent, and young- 
Repeat it in the language of thy heart, 

And tho' polluted be thy life's young rill, 
The sullied stream has yet a crystal part, # 

Where God, with love, beholds his image still: 



OVO LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

MARY O'NEILL'S ELOPEMENT. 

A TRUE STORY. 

The twilight cloud shook from its pale golden arm, 
Airy crystals of Spring upon moorland and farm, 
While the breeze, like a fairy-bard, walked thro' the w ods, 
And kissed into sweetness the mouths of the buds. 

There's a feast in the cottage of Mary O'Neill, 
And her kinsmen are gathered from hamlet and vale ; 
And the piper is there, since an hour before noon, 
Drawing out the heart-sweets of each old Irish tune. 

Maid servants are busy, with brown arms bare, 
At cooking and boiling, and cleansing of ware ; 
And many a youth did old Patrick invite 
To dance at the nuptials of Mary, to-night. 

But the groom was a "bodogh" who barter'd and sold 
Land and cattle, to. glut his soul's hunger for gold ; 
And he had, by his drudging, to twilight from dawn, 
Large wealth in the Bank, and ten cows in his bawn. 

& Every scheme of the world's slave-market he saw— - 
¥'"' Quick and small was his eye— pale and thin was his jaw ; 
Shrewd, cold-soul'd, and cautious, his years were two score, 
While the blooming young Mary was just twenty-four. 

Bold Phelim O'Keefe, from the banks of the Faile, 
Came down to the wedding of Mary O'Neill ; 
Tall, graceful, and gallant, «id comely was he, 
With a hand, like a giant's, that reached to his knee. 

A good-hearted devil for fighting and fun, 
As stout as a tower and as straight as a gun ; 
Every fair in the country knew Phelim right well, 
Tho' no pig, goat, n nor garron he ne'er had to sell. 

Oft he met pleasant Mary, when going to toil, 
And she paid his salute with a kind word and smile, 
And she said, in her heart, "may I never know grief, 
But I like your fine shoulders, bold Phelim O'Keefe ! " 

^uid she went to her cottage-door, day after day,, . *&s 
Wot a peep at bold Phelim when passing the way, t|r 
iJut she was so rich that he still pass'dTier by, 
With m humble salute and a wink of his eye. ' 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 399 

But when he had heard that her marriage was fixed, 
His heart was bewilder'd, his head was perplexed, 
And he came to her wedding to wish her good-luck, 
Tho' he wished that Old Nick all the match-makers took. 

He entered the cottage and greeted her sire, 
And he stood, for awhile, with his back to the fire ; 
He watched and he waited till Mary appear'd, 
And old Patrick was gone to look after his herd. 

As a queen-picture, kindled with life's spirit-flame, 
(We only suppose) stepping out from its frame ; 
So stately in movement — in beauty so real — 
Were the sweet face and figure of Mary O'Neill. 

Her small feet, with stockings as white as bog-down, 
Slyly peep'd from the hem of her gay bridal gown ; . 
Her cheeks were as poppies the sun looks upon, 
But the wild-laughing fire of her large eyes was gone. / 

" Sweet Mary ! " said Phelim, so soft in her ear, 
In a low tone which none but the maiden could hear, 
" Be poverty curst that forbade me to woo 
So lovely, so noble a maiden as you ! 

"Ba**were I a lord or a prince's high son, 

I'd die or the wealth of your love I d have wonj 

No man in all Erin would take you from me, 

For you're wrapt in my heart, like a bird in a tage ! " 

" 'Tis a pity," the maid, in a whisper, replied, 

" That love to the loving should e er be denied ! 

'Tis a pity that wealth should exist to o'erthrow, s\ 

The sweetest heart's joy human bosoms can know ! 

"Go 'round to my sleeping-room window, unseen, 
I'll hand you my mantle, then run thro' the green, 
And wait near the grove, till the light leaves the iky, 
And ere the priest comes, I'll be with you or die 1" 

He took the maid's mantle, and ran to the grove, 
While his heart almost blazed with a fever of l^ve | 
And she, to disguise her intentions the mof e r ■•*■"..■ 
Stay*d to welcome the guests, and then stole from tire door. 

X^»y met at the grove-side— -one grasp of the hand, 
One wild kiss of joy, and one glance round the x — J 
And fjW went they off thro' the miat-gloQH|f,f 
As gl»4 &* two souls on their journey to.heAY< 




400 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

The bridegroom is come, with the priest by his side, 
And there's feasting and fun in the house of the bride ; 
Hot smoked the fuH dishes— fast flow'd the bright ale, 
And there's many a shake hands for old Patrick O'Neill. 

The wicked-eyed youths at the coy maids are winking, 
The maids on their dinners and dresses are thinking ; 
Some sat near the piper and cheer'd him the while 
He squeezed from his bag "Norah Creina " in style. 

But where is the bride ?— she was there while ago! — 
Good Lord, sirs, where is she, does anyone know ? 
She is out at the next house, with Nelly Mulcare ! 
Go, tell her^he groom and his reverence are here ! 

The neighbours were questioned, — no Mary was found— 
The guests grew suspicious, sly whispers went round ; 
The feast was abandon'd ; they search'd far and wide— 
And the groom has ran home, fiercely cursing the bride. 

The night waned away, but no news, nor a trace 
Of the lovely deserter, were found in the place ; 
Her sire stamped and storm'd, like one raging mad, 
And the priest for his twenty gold guineas was sad. 

Next week, in high triumph, came home to the vale, 
Fair Mrs. O'Keefe— alias Mary O'Neill— 
And her gossips and cousins declared, with one voice, 
That 'tis hard to debar a young maid of her choice ! 

Old Patrick look'd up at the runaway pair, 
With an oath on his lips, and a black-scowling stare, 
While Phelim, as straight as a pike-staff, stood by, 
And Mary look'd down, and pretended to cry. 

Her father leap'd up— kick'd the rush chair aside,— 
"Away from my sight !" hoarse with anger, he cried, 
11 You stole my fine daughter, you night-walking thief !" 
" 'Twas your daughter stole me !" said bold Phefim O'Keefe. 

"We want nothing from you, the world is wide— 

I hare stout hands, thank God, to win bread for my bride ; 

To rive her a good living I'd toil in a ditch, 

Ana with peace, health, and love, we'll be happy and rich !" 

Oh J to see the old man how he fought with his heart, 
Wheii Phelim and Mary prepared to depart — 
Hejruehed to the door, calling Mary, twice, thrice, 
$0.*+ passionate tenderness yearned in his voice. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 401 

" Stay, stay, Phelim! stay with your wife in this house, 
'Tis your own, and I'll give you the land and the cows ! 
I'll count you her fortune, five hundred pounds bright — 
In her choice of a husband perhaps she was right !" 

The matter was settled — her friends were called in, 
And old Conway, the piper, was sent for again — 
Three casks of poteen and ten sirloins of beef, 
Were despatched at the wedding of Phelim O'Keefe. 



THE BATTLE OF KILBARRON.* 
a.d. 1259. 

O'Brien sate in his mountain-hall, 

On a seat of rushes and dark-green fern ; 
His shield hung o'er him, on the wall — 

At his feet lay a wolf-dog, grim and stern. 
His daughter Mor was at his side, 

With her milk-white hand on the " cruit-mres;" . . 
And his bounding spirit thrill'd, with pride, 

As she sang the deeds of her kingly sires. 
But ere the lofty song was done, 

Three stern-brow'd, hawk-eyed mountain-men — 
With their faces bronzed from wind and sun — 

To the royal chieftain, came rushing in. 
" Oh, mighty son of kings !" they cried, 

" MacMaurice is marching on thy land ! * 

He comes from Connaught's bordering side, 

With two score knights, and a numerous band I 
His English host is two thousand strong, 

And the Welshmen of Mayo have joined the chief — 
They come, a lawless, ravening throng — 

To plunge our realm in dole and grief ! 

* MacMaurice Fitzgerald led a strong army into Thomond, to attack 
Connor O'Brien and to despoil the country. O'Brien having timely intelli- 
gence of the intended raid, called his clans together, and marched to oppose 
the advance of the invaders. The armies met at Kilbarron, in the parish of 
Feakle, county of Clare, and a fierce battle was fought, in whitfc M acMa n - 
rice and his English host were defeated and driven into Connatignt in head- 
long rout, leaving seven hundred of their army dead on the field. The 
Welsh settlers of Mayo who joined the English were nearly all destroyed, 
and the victors also suffered severe loss, for many of the nobles and cold* 
of Thomond fell in the heat of the action. 

Connor, shortly after his victory at Kilbarron, was killed at the wood of 
Suidane, in Burren, in combat with the O'Loghlins and O'Coittiors, *hom 
fee endeavoured to subdue as tributaries to his power. From this incident 
lie is known in history as Connor na Suidane. 



402 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

They'll camp to-night on Kilbarron's height, 

And plunder the country at break of day, 
For, while shaded from view, near the host we drew, 

So we heard the knights and the captains say !" 

O'Brien leap'd up from his ferny seat, 

Like the angry fiend of a stormy night ; 
Mor's silver " cruit"* fell down at her feet, 

And the bloom of her cheek became cold death-white. 
"Go,. rouse Clancuilen !" the stern prince cried, 

And summon from Dysart the fierce O'Dea, 
To meet me to-night, by Loch Doon's dark side, 

With their bravest troops, in their best array ! 
Like a burning plagjue, I will cross the track 

Of those robbing invaders ! those beastly men ! 
By the holy St. Flannan !f they'll never go back, 

With the coveted spoil from the lion's den !" 

Away flew the scouts, with unslackening speed, 

Thro' the plains of Clancuilen and Dysart O'Dea ; 
Their spurs grew tinged with the blood of each steed, 

So furiously rapid they rode away. 
And long ere the setting sun redden'd the west, 

The signal of war through the land was spread ; 
And nightfall saw on the mountain's crest 

The nres of battle blaze large and red. 
And the clans were muster'd and marshall'd all, 

And old and young rush'd the host to join ; 
And the war-slogan rung from shieling to hall, 

"Lamh Laidir Inochta /"J brave O'Brien !" 

# They inarch'd along thro' the gloom of night, 

Till they came to the side of Loch Doon's blue flood, 
Where they pitch'd their tents, till the morning's light 

Would guide their steps to the field of blood. 
They lighted their camp-fires, and spread their feast, 

And drank fiery goblets of bright red " mead ;"§ 
Then the clans lay down on the sward to rest, 

With their heads on their folded " cochah "|| laid. 
The army sank into sleep profound, 

And nothing was heard, save the sentinels' tramp, 
As, with measur'd paces, they walk'd around 

The shadowy ring of the silent camp : 

* Cruit, a small harp. 

+ St. Flannan was one of the patron saints of Thomond. 

X Lamh laidir Inochta — i.e., the strong hand uppermost— was the war- 
cry and motto of the O'Briens. 

?Wine. 

|| The cockal was a woollen cloak, with a hanging collar, striped with many 
colours, and fastened at the throat of the wearer with a button or brooch of 
gold or silver. It covered the body to the middle of the thigh, and the 
warrior often used it as a shield in battle by winding it tightly round th# 
left arm. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 403 

But the wakeful chiefs, with their brehons, and bards, 

In the tent of O'Brien held council 'till dawn ; 
While abroad in the night-shade the royal guards 

Surrounded the place, with their long swords drawn. 
A dark-blue cloud o'er the dim woods hung — 

Cold was the beam of the setting moon — 
And dismally the night-wind sung 

To the fairy waters of wild Loch Doon ; 
The dark foeman's watch-fires flamed afar, 

Thro' the hazy gloom of Kilbarron's height ; 
And ghostly murmurs of woe and war 

Were heard in the gale, all the lonely night. 
Morn gushed, like wine, o'er the purple lake, 

Like golden harp-strings, its ripples play'd ; 
And the wild-birds' anthems, from bower and brake, 

With the woods and waters, rich concert made. 
But ere the sun climb'd the reddening east, 

A solemn Mass in the camp was said ; 
And all receiv'd, from the gray-hair'd priest, 

The shrived soul's living eternal Bread. 
Then the priest, with his eyes and hands upheld, 

Pray'd God and his Virgin Mother to bless 
The warriors' toils, in the dangerous field, 

And crown their arms with bright success. 
Then the dim shore clang'd with the sound of steel, 

And the gathering tramp of the rising clan ; 
And the princes and bards sent a brave appeal 

To the strengthen'd heart of each martial man. 

Away to Kilbarron's dark height they go, 

Like tke volumed roll of an autumn flood, 
Where, in bristling masses, the banded foe 

On the broad, yellow hill-slope grimly stood. 
Their banners red to the winds were spread, 

And the shifting blaze of their spears and shields 
A quivering torrent of radiance shed 

O'er the dewy green of the glowing fields. 
Scowling, in front, stood the archers grim, 

With their quivers stored and their long bows drawn, 
And each arrow's keen point flashed, like a gem, 

In the brightening glow of the red-eyed dawn. 
The armour d cavaliers, four deep, 

Stood ready, with rein, and spur, and lance, 
To dash their steeds, with headlong sweep, 

And deadly might, on the foe's advance. 
" Go," said The O'Brien, to bold O'Dea, 

Attack their right, where the Welshmen stand ! 
And if any escape with his life away, 

May your heart's blood smoke on a foreign brand ! 
And you, MacConmara, strong arm of power ! 

Hurl Clan Cuilen on their left wing ; 



404 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

By the soul of my sire, in another hour, 

The eagles and wolves shall have banqueting ! 

Myself, and the warriors of Inchiquin, 
Shall deal with the centre our spears and sparths ;* 

Now, sons of "Lamh Laidir" 'tis time to begin 
To speak, with our steel, to the robbers' hearts !" 

Then the cornasf were blown, with a mighty sound, 

And the English bugles made fierce reply ; 
And up the hill-side, with a surging bound, 

Dash'd the wild clans, shouting their battle-cry. 
A torrent of arrows, like hurricane-hail, 

Leap'd, with deadly hiss, from the English bows, 
And the foremost ranks of the fiery Gael 

Fell dead ere their weapons could reach their foes, 
And, as wolf-hounds sweep thro' a bed of fern 

The cavalry down on the footmen sprung ; 
But the long, sharp spears of the active kern, 

Hiders and steeds to the red sward flung. 
As a whirlwind shivers a forest of oak, 

So reel'd the closed hosts on the steel-ridged height, 
And the quick, shrill echoes of shout and stroke, 

Told the glorious madness of the fight. 
To the crest of the hill surged the roaring mass, 

With stormy clangor and deadly thrust, 
While the weapons of kern and gallowglass 

Were cleaving the archery to the dust. 
On front and flank of the Welshmen bold, 

Thunder'd O'Dea, with his mountain-band ; 
Their "cochals" around their left arms roll'd, 

And the grinding axe in each strong right-hand : 
Then the yell of death shriek'd o'er the heath, 

And the shattering blows smashed helm and targe ; 
And the warriors fell on the hill's rough swell, 

Like cliflfe lash'd down by a mad sea-surge. 
With equal valour on every side, 

The wrathful conflict blazed and raged ; 
And the vigour and strength of the chiefs were tried, 

As their arms, like sweeping flames, engaged. 
Into a dark hollow, adown the hill, 

The stern Clancuilen the right wing bore ; 
And there the demon of war roar'd shrill, 

While his red hand was reeking with copious gore. 
Falchion to falchion, and spear to spear, 

In furious " melee" they grappled long ; 
Till the " Galls" t were driven, like routed deer, 

Into flight, a mingled, impetuous throng. 

* Battle-axes. 

t Military instruments for sounding the advance or retreat of an army. 

* Foreigners, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 405 

Clancuilen's chief, in that furious strife, 

Exhausted the strength of his powerful arm, 
While over the grim devastation of life, 

His war-shout was heard, like a midnight storm. 
S#U brave Mac Maurice, with desperate might, 

With his central phalanx his ground held good, 
Till fierce MacConmara, upon his right, 

Like a hurricane hurl'd his spears of blood. 
Then backward the tottering band recoil'd, 

Like a cloud of fire, o'er the hill's red height, 
While vainly the brave knights and captains toil'd, 

To shield the retreat, and prevent a flight. 
MacMaurice was wounded by fierce O'Brien — 

His guards bore him off from the burning fray, 
And across the brown hill, in a reeking line, 

Large drops of blood mark'd the warrior's way. 
With iron valour and desperate force, 

Three times did his brave troops charge amain, 
Till the rolling masses of foot and horse 

Grew mingled together upon the plain. 
Then the broken rush of the flight began, 

Their order was ruin'd, their courage was gone; 
In headlong panic, man struck down man, 

Where the rout, like a scattering wave, roll'd on. 
"Give the Galls no quarter!" O'Brien roar'd, 

And his voice thro* the fieldUike a trumpet rang, 
While his swift Dalcassians, with axe and sword, 

Like sharks on the flying squadrons sprang. 
And the grim chief stood on a moss-headed crag, 

With the dead at his feet and the blood on his mail ; 
And o'er him the folds of his glorious old Flag, 

With its " Three Yellow Lions," stream'd on the gale, 
While the loud war-slogan of victory grew, 

Like a thunder-peal, from his warrior-clan, 
"Lamh Laidir Inochta ! bans na Sassenach ruidh /"* 

As after the fugitive troops they ran. * 

And few of the Welshmen escaped, with life, 

From the terrible kernes of fierce O'Dea ; 
Two hundred braves, in the blaze of the strife, 

A feast for the crows, on the hill's crest lay. 
Lynotts, and Barretts, and Tymlins bled, 

On the field's right wing, in one reeking pile ; 
Leonards, and Wattins, and Grosses lay dead 

On the left, where their blood-gouts fatted the soil. 
Five hundred men in the centre fell, — 

Brave men of high prowess and mettle, and might ; 
Their stark corpses ridged all the hill's red swell, 

And six hundred were slain in the rushing fiigSfc. 

* Baus na Satunach ruidh, i.e., Death to the red Saxon. 



4Q6 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Nor soon did the victor-Dalcassians forget 

The carnage and wounds of the deathful fray ; 

For bloody and hot was the greeting they met, 
In that ruinous field, on that fatal day. 



THE BARD'S PROTEST. 

A LIFE PICTURE. 

I am Bard to none but the God above, 

Who sent me the gift of Song 
From His angel-choir, and taught me to love 

The right, and to hate the wrong ! 
I sing no tinsell'd autocrat's praise — 

I crouch at no lordling's knee ; 
Not birth nor blood, but the True and Good, 

And the Loving, are themes for me ! 

But scarce as the Just are the True and Goq?i,,; ; 

And the Loving on earth are few, .{ ^ f . ; 

For the hemlock grows where the sweet wild iosai 

That was planted by God's hand, grew ! {.■ 

Heaven wastes its glory in endless floods — 

Earth blossoms in every part — 
While the serpent breeds and the nettle buds 

In the gloom of the human heart. 

In these rigid and icy Christian days, 

I wish that I ne'er had been, 
To know the sorrow my heart has known, 

For the mockery my eyes have seen. 
Has your " Civilisation" sown one seed : „■.•,$ >JJ .• , 

Of love in your bosom's ice? : ,, i v ; i ■.-!). ; 

Has ypur " march of Progress' • crush!d/6a$ W^' ,J 

In the desert of human vice:? . • '^ tz*)$ 'i^ 

'••■:' . •* • - .- ? ■. tf *fc f ..-A 
I have seen the image of God thrown down^i* i»io- 

And a beast set up in its place* ■ *• '- 

And truth's and honour's perverted crown- •>;■/* 

On the head of the false and base. , e 

I ha^e seen insipid buffoonery prized, ! 

And extoll'd as a goldeiuele, ., 

. While the god-like schokrlawi been despised, 

And the patriot mock'd as a fooL ' . . I . . . 

' *■ . " ' ' d ' . " : '.''"'. "►- 

I have&een the philanthropist betray'd A / '-' lJ 

A, the gloom of a dungeon cold, '^ '■ *-■ 

While the heaven-curst traitor was amply paid 
For the innocent blood he sold. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 407 

I have seen, at a beastly Herod's feet, 

Vile sycophants worship the brute, 
And a Judas raised to the judgment seat, 

To pervert and betray God's truth. 



I have seen the low clods of ignorance 

At majestic wisdom sneer, 
And poltroons scoffing at manly sense, 

And cowards, without God's fear. 
I have heard the honest, brave man reviled 

By the tongue of the dastard knave ; 
I have seen the generous soul beguiled, 

By the snares of a sordid slave. 



I have seen sly, silken hypocrites 

Exalted above the just ; 
I have seen Mammon's hungry steel-claw'd kites 

In high places of godly trust. 
I have heard a mongrel, huxtering wretch, 

Applauded for Christian zeal — 
A vampire who'd suck, like a grim horse-leech. 

The blood of the common-weal. 

* 
I have seen, the sluggard and dullard fed 

By the sweat of the starving poor ; 
I have seen from the kindly hand, the bread 

Snatched away by the churlish boor. 
I have seen the honest man cast aside 

In the shadow of stern neglect, 
While the villain, who Nature and God belied, 

Was greeted with marked respect. 



I have seen the noble sons of iworth 

To the hell of felons consign'd, 
While reptiles, whose crimes disgraced the earth, 

Walk'd free as the summer wind. 
I have seen- the swaggering upstart turn 

His fiend's sneer at merit's claim ; 
And the devil-soul'd profligate spat, with Bcorn, 

Oh the virtue he bronght-to shame. 



• 



I have seen a ravening human wolf * 

Devour half a country's side, 
And swallow whole granaries at a gulp, 4 . \ 

While God's poor with hunger died ; 



408 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And the monster revell'd on broken hearts, 

-Ay, hearts of the pure and true — 
And the law gave him aid, with its devilish arts, 

His mission of ruin to do. 

I saw the Apostle of Holy Writ, 

To the godless wronger lean, 
And at the banquet of Dives sit, 

While poor Lazarus begg'd in vain. 
I saw a covetous steward of God, 

His wealth with a steel-grip hold, 
While famine stalk'd thro' the land, plague-shod, 

And the poor lambs starved in the fold. 

I saw Christ's vineyard overrun 

By huxters in saintly shapes, 
Who thro* the top of the roof stole down, 

To rob and to eat the grapes. 
I have heard a shepherd, in holy clothes, 

Preach eternity not too long, 
Nor hell too hot, to punish all those 

Who dare rise against tyrant wrong. 

I saw the greedy monopolist haste 

To devour the small fry of trade ; 
I saw the scheming bankrupt feast 

On the wealth that industry made ! 
And the law for the rich thief could forget 

The thousands he squander'd away, 
While the straggler was whipp'd for a paltry debt, 

Which his poverty could not pay. 

As grubs in a narrow, earthly hole, 

Men grovel in low pursuit, 
And the generous bound of the manly soul 

Has deserted the breast of youth. 
Old social manners have died away, 

And kind fellow-love is no more, 
For men's hearts with selfish schemes are gray, 

Ere one hair in their heads is hoar. 

Like Argus, for every sordid chance-— 

They watch with a hundred eyes, 
As spiders grim, from their cobwebs glance 

To seize on the hovering flies. 
No wonder the sons of the desert-camp 

Should fly from the Christians' greed, 
And fear it more than the poisonous swamp 

Whei^-the deadly copper-snakes feed. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 409 

If this be your " Civilisation's " sway, 

May the Lord put an end to it soon ! 
And enlighten the age with a brighter ray, 

And give mankind a happier noon ! 
. Look around, and behold, on every hand, 

In these days of political law, 
Worse Cromwells and Iretons in the land 

Than our forefathers ever saw. 

Earth and ocean, shake from line to pole, 

With the strides of the giant steam ; 
And progress advances, cheek by jole, 

With the march of deceit and scheme — 
The lightning to herald the thoughts of man, 

Has left its ethereal clime, 
But it might have on nobler missions ran 

In the gloom of the pagan time. 

Once my bosom's core, like the flower of the wold, ^ 

Knew the sweetness of love for all |L a 

Earth's daughters and sons, till the cruel and oold^ 

Changed my heart and my blood to gall ; 
TiUjt-saw the world as dark as hell, 

V§|pi man's perfidy unto man ; 
Then 7 1 cried, worms ! the Lord doth well 

To shorten your evil span ! 

m 

They sent me to drudge in the marketplace, 

Till my hands and my heart grew sore, 
And the blood-sweat burst from my burning face, 

Till the weary, long day was o'er — 
How slowly the sun sunk down to the main, 

While my toil-crush'd spirit sigh'd 
For the holy breath of the summer-plain, 

And a seat by the river's side ! 

And the heart and tongue that would feel and speak 
The language oil love for all, * 

Grew rank as tbp trail*>f the death-fang'd snake 
t Foredoom'diii the dust to crawl ! ^1 

And I flung back the sneer to the monied slave, 
My contempt for the vile to show ; 

And I reddOTTd the cheek of the scoffing knave, #* 
With a hot and vindictive blow. 

1 five se#n, on the bough's silver arm high, 

A little bird sing in glee, 
While a treacherous cat, with his tiger-eye, 

Stole tip in the moss-clad tree ! 

" " * * 27 



410 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And thus while song's empyrean cup 
Was grasp'd by my thirsting soul, 

Some demon-shadow of earth sprung up, 
And threw dust in my aerial bowl. 

And the golden fools at my folly laugh'd, 

For my spirit disdain'd control 
Of the servile yoke and the sordid craft 

Of the spurious and dull in soul, 
And I stole away to the mountain-wood, 

From the city's detested den, 
And I blessed, in the flowers, the beauty of God, 

And curst the base greed of men. 

Avaunt, false pride ! with the arrogant stride ! 

The black deed, and cold hard stare 
Of the steely eye, which tells no lie, 

That the " civilized " wolf is there ! 
Not love nor worth, at thy trifling birth, 
0?. But a snake to thy soul was given, 
To Scatter more seeds of ruin on earth, 

Than Satan hath done in heaven. . 

There's a mysterv in the thunder-cloud 

That darkens the summer-air — 
There's a mystery ipder the death-white shroud, 

And the ice-cold ashes there ! 
There's a mystery in the grave enshrined, 

With its darkness damp and chill, 
But the human heart and the human mind 

Are darker mysteries still ! 



THE EXILE'S RETURN. 

The breezy wmg of morning swept the silver beads away 

TJiat on the yellow fringes of the iusky heather lay ; 

Blade, flower, and leaf, and soaring bird, blue rill, and cooling 

gale. 
Made golden spirit-music in the glory-lighted vale. 

A village-maiden sat within a ruin'd cottage hall, 

Beneath the tawny grass-blades that were tremblinggpn the 

wall ; » 

Her moisten'd eye and pallid cheek, and drooping broif de* . 

fined - I 

That some loved image stood before the mirror of her mind. .$§ 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 411 

"Three cloudy winters o'er yon hill, have shook their sleety 

wings, 
And yonder vale has worn the robe of three successive 

Springs, 
Since, o er the dark-green waters of the distant western-sea, 
Mo bochail doun* my bright-haired one, has gone away from 

me. 



These are the four walls of the home where his young life was 

nurst — 
Here, at a dance, one summer-eve, we met each other first ; 
His glance of love soon found my heart, as the golden-honey 

bee 
Finds the sweetest part of the opening flower of the beautiful 

apple-tree ! 

o 

It was not for his bright-ring'd locks, and eyes, like a clear 

lake blue* 
That I promised to be his own fond wife, with a pftssio^un- 

changed and true ; 
But he spoke so kind, and he loved so deep his owa dear, 

native%nd, 
There's not a girl in Erin's Isle would deny him her heart and 

hand ! 

m 

And often, by this humble door, when summer nights were 
fine, .» 

We sat relating fairy tales, with his brave hand clasping 
mine; 

And at this hearth, that's now so lone, when winter days 
were done, 

We had many a song and merry laugh, while the busy flax- 
wheel spun ! 



I dreamt last night I saw hint coming down by the meadow's 

side, 
With his pleasant look, and his free, wild step, and his bearing 

of manly pride ; „ ■ 

While my joyful heart to meet him sprung, as a little bird flies 

away „ 

To a lovdfcr tree, all glowingly robed with the blossoms of sunny '' 

May! 

* My brown boy. f/G\s*^ ^"^J^/C^ 



412 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Sure, the day before he went away, by the river-bank we met,. 
And we sat beneath a gray hawthorn, and talk'd till the sun 

was set ; 
He press'd my hand, and pledged his faith to send for me, 'ere 

long, 
And his deep, sweet voice has haunted my soul, like the sound 

of an angel's song ! 

Pale evening stretch thy shadows o'er the face of the silent 

plain ! 
And hasten, blessed, peaceful night ! till I dream of my love 

again ! 
Oh ! I'd rather sleep for ever in the heaven of that sweet dream, 
Than awake to be the mistress of a palace wanting him ! 

The maiden ceased, and started up — for she heard a footstep 

nigh— 
And a stranger stood before the walls, with a fixed and brimful 

eye; 
He walked within the roofless cot, where the nettle and tall 

dock grew — 
He saw and clasp'd the weeping girl — "Dear Eveleen ! is it 

you?" 

" And did you come, my lonely love, to this dreary, ruined cot, 
To think on me, who, I had thought, that every one forgot ? 
Oh ! my heart is glad to find you true — we'll ne'er be divided 

more ! 
I've plenty of wealth, and a home for you, on America's 

friendly shore ! 

" I came to take a last fond look at the hills of my native Isle, 
And her storied fields, where the tyrants' curse has wither'd 

the blighted soil ! 
To say one prayer at my mother's grave, and take, at her 

place of rest, 
A shamrock from the sacred clay that lies o'er her moulder'd 

breast ! 

" Then come away ! the ship will sail ere to-morrow's sun goes 
dpwn, 

And we'll be on our foamy path to New York's stately town ; 

We'll leave this wretched, lawless land, where oppression's 
pandering knaves, 

Grow fat on the poor, like charnel rats in the gloom of de- 
serted graves !" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 413 



ADDRESS TO THE SHANNON. 

My beautiful Shannon ! how bright runs thy stream, 
From the morning's first smile to the evening's last beam ! 
Oh ! sweet are the odours that float round thy tide, 
When the summer sun glows on thy emerald side ! 

My beautiful Shannon ! how oft have I strayed 

On thy wild, flowery banks, with my raven-hair'd maid, 

And open'd my soul to thy music, that 'rose 

On the sweet fairy wind, o'er the summer's repose ! 

My beautiful Shannon ! alone on thy bank, 
What a banquet of glory my fancy has drank? 
There, while thy blue current swept on to the sea, 
I stood, like a Magian, in converse with thee ! 

How grandly thy wild hills and dark woodlands frown, 
As thy flood's glancing splendour between them rolls down, 
Majestic and mighty as when, from thy side, 
Great Brian's Kinkora looked down on thy tide ! 

'Twas there, by thy stream, dashing brightly along, 
My spirit inhaled the wild magic of song ; 
And there, 'mid the calm, floral shades of the grove, 
I first drank the golden enchantment of love ! 

Oh, my spirit floats back, in a vision of joy, 
To the days when I stray'd on thy green banks, a boy, 
When my heart, like the linnet that chants in the dells, 
Gush'd out into song as it drank of thy spells ! 

When Earth, like a garden of glory, look'd fair, 
As if death, pain, and sorrow hath never been there ; 
While my bosom, 'mid summer's wild day-dream of light, 
Made love to all beauteous things transient and bright ! 

Oh, Youth I thou magician, one hour on thy stage 
Is worth all the gray-bearded wisdom of Age ! 
Oh, Memory ! thou syren of pleasure and pain, 
Bring me back to my green spring of boyhood again ! 

We know not the worth of its sweetness and truth, 
While we bask in the beams of the spring-bloom of youth ; 
Till out on life's rigid sea, shipwreck'd and toss'd, 
We look back, in tears, to the Eden we lost. 



414 IiAYS Ji^DEGE^DS OF THOMOND. 

Killeely of gray tombs, I haunted thy glades, 
lake a fairy-bird singing alone in thy shades ; 
There nature taught lessons of beauty to me, 
In the tinge of the flower and the leaf of the tree ! 

Oh, sweet Monabraher .' whose rich meads have given 
The wildest perfume to the breathings of heaven ! 
There, oft by the May-moon, I wander 'd at night, 
Till my soul fell asleep in a dream of delight ! 

Parteen of the sunny streams ! Quinsburgh's bright lawn ! 
Fairy isle of St. Thomas, and airy Kilquan ! 
May blessings, like honey-dew, fall on your shades, 
And plenty and sweetness long teem in your meads ! 

Weird scenes, where the lore of tradition has cast 
Dark legends of Fairy — wild tales of the Past — 
Where the fisherman saw, thro' the night-shadow still, 
Gloomy hosts of the dead marching down the blue hill. 

Proud Limerick of fleets, by the azure flood zoned ! 
How glorious you sit on your green isle enthroned ! 
Ah ! oft has my burning heart gush'd into showers, 
As I gazed on your old halls and war-broken towers ! 

Even now, as I stand by the tide's crystal roll, 
The rays of your glory burst bright on my soul ! 
And I weep as I gaze on thy historic plain, 
Where thy mighty sons perish'd or conquer'd in vain ! 

Roll on, kingly river ! thou pride of our Isle, 
And glorious life-pulse of the heart of her soil ! 
The fleets of the world triumphant may ride 
On the broad-swelling breast of thy ocean-like tide ! 

But thy strands are deserted — thy harbours are bare — 
For no trade-ships nor engines of commerce are there ; 
Thy great tide flows idle — our trade is undone — 
Our fields lie uncultured— our people are gone! 



LAMENT FOR THOMAS FRANCIS MEAGHER. 

- ' Gifted Meagher ! gallant Meagher ! 

Soul of honour, true and tried ; 
Have you perish'd thus untimely, 
' Iri 'Missouri's gloomy tide? 
In the spring-noon of your manhood, 

While your glory's wreath was bright, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 415 

Are you gone from all who loved you 

All who hail'd you with delight ? 
Noble Meagher ! princely Meagher ! 

Pulse of Erin's hope and pride ! 
Would to God that, brave and brilliant, 

In the battle charge you'd died ! 



There are tears and throbbing anguish 

In the sad Isle of your birth ; 
And the murmur' d grief of millions 

Has resounded o'er the earth, 
Since the rushing fire-tongued spirit 

Of the lightning- wires of thought, 
The dark tidings of your death-doom, 

To the startled nations brought ! 
Golden mouth of flowery sweetness — 

Towering soul of eagle-pride — 
Would to God that, young and glorious. 

On the battle-field you'd died I 



Like a rich tree, full in blossom, 

By a lightning-stroke o'erthrown, 
Thus you perished in the moment 

When your laurels freshest shone ! 
As a great ship, proudly bounding 

O'er the sea's upheaving might, 
After braving the red perils 

Of a fierce, tempestuous night, 
Sinks into a whirling chaos, 

While the sunny land smiles near, 
So sudden was your dark fate, 

And so brave was your career ! 



Had you fallen in the war-field, 

With your splendid flag above, 
And your heroed comrades round you, 

With the strong pulse of their love, 
Then the bounding souls that prized you, 

Would do honour to your bier, 
With their noble, throbbing bosoms, 

And their valour's manly tear ; 
But an envious, bitter destiny 

Denies you to the brave ! 
They may wail you but they cannot 

Drop a tear upon your grave ! 



416 LAYS AND LEGENDS OE THOMOND. 

Were your kindred angels jealous, 

Or did they deem it wrong 
That you, who spoke so like them 

Should remain on earth so long ? 
Grand and radiant as a meteor, 

Was your swift career of light ; 
Rare and wonderous as a comet, 

But as transient and as bright ! 
Gallant Meagher ! glorious chieftain 

Of the sword and seraph-tongue ! 
A dismal cloud has blotted 

Thy life-star, so grand and young ! 

Had you breathed your soul in Erin, 

Where your native Suir rolls blue — 
What a heart-flood of wild sorrow 

Would unseal its depths for you ? 
And the dark-eyed Decian maidens, 

Your sad funeral "caoine" would sing, 
And adorn your honoured pillow, 

With the sweetest gifts of spring ! 
Noble, gifted child of Erin, 

'Tis for you our grief r would flow, 
With a burst of Irish feeling 

Which no other hearts could know 

In the war-field and the council 

Your high spirit was the same, 
Enkindling lofty actions, 

With the grandeur of its flame ! 
A mine of shining jewels 

Was your rich and racy mind, 
That, like a mighty river, 

Roll'd its treasures to mankind ! 
Thro' Erin and Columbia, 

Wail ye for our brilliant One ! 
Another light of beauty 

From our country's sphere is £one ! 

Freedom lost in you a champion 

Of exalted worth and power ! 
And Genius from her living wreath 

Has lost its brightest flower I 
And Valour from her warrior-ranks 

Shall miss your sword of ligh^ 
Thatjlash'd foremost in the war-charge, 

On the needful day of fight— 
You are laid, oh, heart of brightness ! 

Where no freeman, ser%or slave, 
Shall e'er disturb the silence 

Of your gloomy river-grave ! 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 417 

But there's many a splendid memory, 

With your glowing name entwined, 
And golden is the monument 

Your genius left behind ! 
And glorious are the lessons 

Which your kingly spirit taught, 
In the felon dock and prison, 

And the glorious fights you fought ! 
Your long exile now is ended ; 

Your high spirit 's gone to join 
Your pure and proud compatriots, 

Brave MacManus and O'Brien ! 



THE BATTLE OF CADMUS.* a.d. 1523. 

FALL OF TEIGE o'BBIEN, PRINCE OF THOMOND. 

The war-clans were muster'd from mountain and moor, 
And they march'd, with their prince, to the banks of the Suir, 
Where false Ormond had gather'd his Sassenach band 
To harass the Gael, and to plunder the land. 

There are flaunting of banners and prancing of steeds, 
And waving of spears, like the tall morass-reeds, 
And glittering or falchions, whose quick flashes run, 
Like the gleaming of waves, in the blaze of the sun. 

The wolf-hounds of Butler left blood on their track, 
With th« marchmen and scouts of the Pale at their back! 
But the eagles of Thomond shall teach the brigands 
That the spoil they have robb'd is too hot for their hands! 

The prince of the Dalgais ascended a height, 
Where he mass'd his brave troops in the order of fight, — 
While, threatening his front, from the wide river bank, 
Up march'd the bold Saxons, rank surging on rank. 

* " When Piers Eoe, Earl of Ormond, was created Lord Deputy of Ireland, 
he immediately commenced hostilities against the Irish chiefs. Torlogh 
Donn O'Brien, King of Thomond, sent his son, Teige, with an army, to 
give Ormond battle, at Cadmus, on the Suir, where the latter had maisefl 
an English host fox the reduction of the country around. Teige, who won 
an able and intrepid leader, wgorously encountered the English ; but press* 
ing the battle too eagerly, he fell mortally wounded by a bow-shaft, and 
died on the field. His troops returned, "frith the spoils of the enemy, and 
carried the dead body of their Prince, on a bier, to the Palace of Glonroad." 
—Annals of Thomond. 



418 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

"Behold !" said the chieftain, " the pirate appears ! 
Now grasp your broad axes and poise your long spears ; 
And u any shall fly from my banner to-day, 
May the wolves of the hill tear his vitals away !" 

As a whirlwind shrieks from the peaks of Slieve Bloom, 
When the thunder-fiend roars in his temple of gloom, 
So the fierce chief impetuously hurl'd his clan 
On the foe, and the war-tempest madly began. 

The blue axes quiver — the broadswords flame out, 
And the long spears, like fire-snakes of hell, hiss about ; 
The broken shields fly, and the plumed helmets fall, 
Like the crest of a billow swept off by a squall. 

As a flashing bolt severs the mountain's brown head, — 
As a blast rives a rock in the quarry's deep bed, — 
• So the mail'd Saxon phalanx confusedly roll'd back, 
Before the steel-surge of the furious attack. 

On press'd the fierce Dalgais, like waves to the coast, 
With their proud leader towering in front of his host ; 
And his sword hiss'd and glared, like a night-meteor's gleam, 
Shooting out from the mountain-cloud's bosom of flame. 

And the brigands were stretch'd in his pathway of blood, 
Like the glen's branchy hazels tore down by a flood ; 
But the chieftain is doomed, ere the combat is o'er, 
To return from the red field of glory no more. 

For the Butler, behind a tree, bent his steel bow, 
And wing'd a barb'd shaft at the breast of his foe ; 
Thro' " 8oiath "* and cuirass the forky dart ran, 
And stretched the brave prince at the head of his clan. 

As a young mountain-beech, in the spring-time cut down, 
With a cloud of green buds opening fresh on its crown, 
Across the bright hill-side its stately boughs lie, 
And its tall orest that late seemed to brush the blue sky. 

Thus the beautiful chief lay majestic, while death 
Was freezing his veins and suspending his breath ; 
And his jewell'd locks, dark as the plume of the raven, 
Strew'd the dust, like a glorious cloud fallen from heaven. 

The voio&pf the war-fiend was hushed on the field, 

And hearts thrill'd with awe, that to danger were steel'd ; 

The foemari retreated across the blue Suir, 

When kelearn'd that Thomond's young prince was no more. 

' * A wicker shield. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 419 

With bow'd heads and clench'd teeth the gather'd clan stood 

As silent as trees when the blast leaves the wood ; 

Proud souls melted down, that ne'er melted before, 

And their dark-eagle eyes, with the grief -rain gushed o'er. 

Then he wrench'd from his bosom the cold stinging dart, 
And held back, with his hand, the hot stream of his heart ; 
And spoke to his troops, who in sorrow stood by, 
While the darkness of death gather'd cold on his eye. 

" I am fallen in my youth, and the years of my pride ! 
For my country I die, as my brave fathers died ! 
The sun of my fame in its May-time has set, 
But unman not my heart with your bootless regret ! 

" Go — gather the spoils of your insolent foe, 
That the people of Thomond your conquest may know, 
And proclaim thro' the land that O'Brien's high son 
Died in front of his host, when the victory was won. 

" On a bier, to Clonroad, let my body be borne, 
While the bards chant my dirge on your lonely return ! 
And tell my gray sire, in his high palace-hall, 
That I fell as a Prince of the Dalgais should fall ! 

" Lay the cross on my bosom, and place on my bier, 
At my right and left hand, my blue falchion and spear ! 
Farewell !" And the last vital gush of his breast 
Ebb'd out while his last word was faintly express' d. 

Oh'! fierce was the agonised wail of his clan, 
As they closed round their dead prince, man pressing on man ; 
They kissed his cold hand and they clasp'd his dead form, 
And shriek'd out their grief, like the groan of a storm. 

The red sun is set, and the death-pall is made, 
And the corpse of the chief on the dark bier is laid ; 
But while thro' the eve-mist they carried that bier, 
The voice of their sorrow was awful to hear. 

Now rising in wrath, like the bleak desert-gale, 
Then dying away, like the breeze of the vale ; 
For their anguish, with passion's wild vehemence, flung 
The cry of their souls into desolate song. 



THE CLAN'S DIRGE. 

They bore him along, on a black -pall'd bier, 

From the red field where he fell ; * 
At the warrior's side lay his blood-stained spear, 

And his falchion of Spanish steel ; 



420 LATS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

Around him his drooping banners hung, 
While his clan march d slow behind ; 

Three white-robed bards his requiem sang, 

• Like the wail of the mountain- wind. 

Wrath and grief in each face appeared, 
As the dead was borne along, 

And murmur'd vows of rage were heard 
In each pause of the wild death-song. 

THE BARDS. 

" Lay the sacred cross on our young chief's breast 

While his people around him weep, 
And bear him away to his place of rest,* 

Where his royal fathers sleep. 
No blood shall be shed till his princely head 

Is laid on his pillow of dust, 
Then, down on the Butler, like lightning red, 

Let the flame of your vengeance burst !" 

THE CLAN. 

" We are laden with spoils, but poor are they, 

For our bosoms are dark with grief — 
All the spoils of Ormond would never pay 

For the blood of our high, young chief. 
But these fiery spears, in our wrathful grasp, 

At the heart of his gloomy foe 
Shall strike, like the sting of the angry wasp, 

And blood for blood shall flow." 

THE BARDS. 

" Erin's friend, and Thomond's pride, 

Lies cold on his bier to-day ; 
Clonroad's young eagle, lightning-eyed, 

Is a breathless mass of clay. 
He lay on the field, with his proud breast riven, 

And his soul, thro' his blue eyes bright, 
Look'd up at the golden orbs of heaven, 

Ere it soared to those spheres of light." 



"No more shall the splendour of his shield 

Be seen in the battle- van ; 
No more to the toils of the red war-field 

Shall he lead his warrior-clan ! 
In his father's hall, in future days, 

His conquering sword shall rust, 
While the hand that whirl'd its lightning-blaze 

Lies withering in the dust !" 

• The Abbey of Ennis was, for centuries, the burial-place of the prinoes 
of Thomond. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 421 

THE BARDS. 

" We knew that the angel of death was nigh 

The steps of our princely one ; 
For we saw the clouds, in the dawn's gray sky, 

Melt in blood rings around the sun ! 
And the raven came, with a low, hoarse croak, 

From the old cairn's misty height ! 
And the Banshee cried, by the mossy oak, 

Near the skirt of the camp, last night !" 



"The Saxon host, by the dark-blue Suir, 

Before him vanish'd away, 
As wild birds fly from the wintry moor, 

When the eagle swoops down for prey ; 
But, while on the rout of the flying foe, 

Our bright-hair'd chieftain press'd, 
A death-shaft leapt from the Butler's bow, 

And sank in his brave young breast!" 

THE BARDS. 

" Accurst be the Butler ! scorn and hate, 
Like hill-clouds darken his name ! 

Black-hearted and false to our Church and State- 
May he sink to his grave in shame ! 

May the shadow of death never leave his door, 
And dogs drink blood in his halj, _ 

And the red dew of murder paint his floor, 
Till his house, with a curse, shall fall!" 

THE CLAN. 

"God's lightning strike his dark eyes dead, 

And wither his treacherous hand I 
May the waters of sorrow wet the bread 

That he eats in our bleeding land ! 
May the ghost of famine stand in his way, 

And the fiend of the fever red 
Scorch his brains, with the plague-fire, night and day, 

Till they melt in his burning head !" 

THE BARDS. 

"May rank dews, like drops from a poison bowl, 

Blast and blacken his burial sod ! 
And the stains of murder reek on his soul, 

When it flies before its God ! 
And our nation's curse, like a thunder-cloud, 

Between him and mercy loom, 
Till no ray of heaven can pierce the shroud 

Of its deep and eternal gloom 1" 



422 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE CLAN. 

" Warriors, bear our dead eagle slow, 

To his father's high palace back ; 
Carry him slow, and curse his foe, 

Till your tongues with the curse grow black ! 
Heaven hath no balm, nor earth no peace, 

For the sorrow of Torlogh Donn, 
When the gray chief shall see the cold, white face 

Of the corpse of his noble son !" 

THE BABDS. 

" The blue-fork'd lighning spares the reeds, 

• But shatters the mighty oak, 

Thus the blue-eyed son of <jur chieftain bleeds 

By an ambush'd foeman's stroke ! 
The tears of sorrow, in Desmond's hall, 

Like the night-cloud's drops shall descend, 
When the chief shall hear of the early fall 

Of his valiant and princely friend 1" 



" The wild heart wail of his people's woe 

To the throne of heaven shall surge, 
And a curse for the hand that laid him low, 

Shall float up on the pealing dirge ! 
Dark-eyed women, with milk-white hands, 

Shall dress his funeral bed ! 
While stern-soul'd men shall whet their brands 

To avenge the noble dead !" 

THE BABDS. 

" Clansmen, lay down the prince's bier, 

And around, in a circle, kneel ! 
With cross'd hands touch the warrior's spear, 

And swear, by its purple steel. 
That, ere the first blade shall drink the dew 

Of spring, on his grave's red clay, 
Your vengeance shall wipe the murder-hue 

Of our young chief's blood away !" 

• He formed an alliance with the Earl 1 of Desmond and O'Neill of Ty- 
rone against the Butlers and the English interests. He was twenty-two 
Sears of age when he fell. Tradition states that for personal courage, noble 
eeds, and high-spirited chivalry he promised to outshine some of the most 
illustrious of his predecessors. 



LAYS ABD LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 423 

THE BEAUTIES OF DROMOLAND.* 

A MOONLIGHT PICTURE. 

Respectfully inscribed to the Right Hon. Edward Donogh, 
Lord Inchiquin. 

One calm November even', 

When the white moon hung in heaven, 

And the lonely hour of seven 

By the solemn clock was told ; 
At that beautiful and bright time 
Of the growing winter night time, 
I wander'd 'mid the white rime* 

Of Dromoland's lawns of gold. 

One soul, whose kincired feeling 
To my own was fondly stealing, 
Moved gently, with me, hailing 

The gray glory of the scene, 
Where Art, like some strict teacher 
Of a lovely wayward creature, 
Imparted to wild Nature 

The adornments of a queen. 

I have seen, in visions airy, 

Isles and palaces of Fairy, 

Till my dazzled soul grew weary 

Of the magic-teeming sight ; 
But a scene of scenes enchanted, 
By fays or spirits haunted, 
Or by god-like Genius painted, 

I beheld it on that night. 

Lake and hill-crest, moonlight-bathed, 
Bower and forest, silver-wreathed, 
Lawn and vista, weirdly shaded 

By their glistening sylvan screens : 
Royal oaks the paths embowering ; 
Ivied elms gigantic towering ; 
Fairy knolls, with dew-buds flowering 

On their fragrant evergreens. 

Mighty ash-woods, lightning-branded, 
Like great Brian's army banded, 
Strong, tall, and giant-handed, 

On Clontarfs immortal field — 

The stars, like spear-points seeming, 

O'er their branchy helms are gleaming 

While the moon in front is beaming, 

. Like great Morogh's fiery shield. 

* The mapmiflcent Palace of Dromoland was built by Sir Edward O'Brien, 
the grandfather of the present Lord Inchiquin. 



424 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

White birch and hoary linden, 
On the golden hill-sides bending, 
With the mighty beech are blending 

Their grand shadows' silvery blue : 
Tassell'd fir and drooping willow- 
Show their dank crests, dark and yellow, 
O'er the valley's ferny hollow, 

Streaked with pearly lines of dew. 

The circling hill-tops muster, 
In many a vapoury cluster, 
Curling plumes of snowy lustre, 

In the moon's reposing beam ; 
And, with breathless stealth, the winter 
Comes, the beauteous shades to enter, 
While calm summer, in their centre, 

On her green couch seems to dream. 

Snow-white walk and mist-fring'd alley, 
Cluster'd bower and glowing valley, 
Where bronzed laurel and bright holly 

Their immortal wreaths unite ; 
Shadowy glades, with gold moss spangled, 
Gloom-capp'd groves, in darkness tangled, 
Their weird spirit-pictures mingled 

In a silver frame of light. 

All in solemn grandeur sleeping — 
Heaven's pearls the lawns are steeping — 
Misty shapes, like thin ghosts, weeping, 

In the white beams float around — 
No ethereal breath is blowing — 
God's golden fires are glowing, 
Their diamond-splendours showing 

In the Lake's blue heart profound. 

And the noble palace-structure — 
Pride of kingly architecture — 
Frames its calm, majestic picture 

In the crystal-sheeted Lake ; 
No cloud its sheen is dimming — 
. No breeze- wraith o'er it skimming, 
Save where the wild duck, swimming, 

Its deep-azure slumbers break. 

And the lordly towers seem heighten'd — 
By the moonbeams' glory whiten'd — 
As if magic grandeur brighten'd 
Their imperial fronts of stone ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 425 

And their regal summits splendid, 
With the blue of heaven seem blended, 
While from their halls ascended 
Music's golden seraph-tone. 

House of Brian's proud descendants ! 
In whose halls of rich resplendence, 
Guests, strangers, and dependents, 

Find good cheer and plenteous fare ; 
For those proud halls yet inherit 
Courteous hearts and noble merit, 
And the hospitable spirit 

Of old Thomond still is there. 

In those halls' palacious splendour, 

Erin's patriot-defender 

Pass'd his young days, bright and tender, 

'Mid the storied hills of Clare ; 
And tho' fortune had assign' d him 
Every joy that wealth could find him, 
He left them all behind him, 

Poor Ireland's griefs to share. 

Mighty-hearted, princely-minded — 
By no self-devotion blinded — 
But he felt he was descended 

From a royal Irish line ; 
And when Erin's woes grew double, 
Still he strove to soothe her trouble— 
Oh, the noblest of the noble 

Was your spirit, Smith O'Brien ! 

Deep he drank the poison-chalice 
Of despotic tyrant-malice, 
Since he left a radiant palace 

For a dreary felon cell ; 
But no love of life could win him 
From the fate that frown'd again' him, 
For the proud old blood was in him, 

And he loved his country well. 

Alas ! that in Rathronan 
He slumbers low and lone on 
Death's couch, with the cold stone on 

His bosom, once so bright. 
But mortal life is fleeting — 
Yet glad would be our meeting, 
And Jtind would be his greeting, 

If he were here to-night. 



28 



426 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 



YOUNG ANNIE. 

Young Annie's lips are red 

As the rich vermilion- dye 
By the glowing sunrise shed 

On the borders of the sky. 
Like the flax-flower's azure hue, 

In the May-field's shaded light, 
Beams her eye's resplendent blue 

'Neath her fair brow, lily-white. 

Knoc-Feirin has no fay, 

On its red-bell'd heather sweet, 
That could lighter skip away 

On a whiter pair of feet, 
Than young Annie, when she glides 

'Mid the daughters of the town, 
Like a sygnet on the tide's 

Milky foam-specks drifting down. 

The willow on the strand, 

With soft, downy germs lined, 
Dancing o'er the yellow sand 

To the music of the wind, 
In its airy summer dress, 

With the sunshine's beauty warm, 
Hath the graceful slenderness 

Of young Annie's foot and form. 

Have ye mark'd, when May-eve's hour 

Reddens Cratloe's mountain-crown, 
The gentle primrose-flower 

On the banks of Avondoun — 
When around the scented plains, 

And the crystal arch of space, 
A calm, fairy sweetness reigns ? — 

'lis the type of Annie's face ! 

Have ye seen the airy threads 

Of tne light gossamer play 
In the zephyrs of the meads, 

On a sunny harvest day ? 
So the wavy silken-cluster 

Of young Annie's soft brown hair, 
Flings its cloud of shaded lustre 

O'er her waxen shoulders fair. 

When, a little blue-eyed one, 

With the wild May-flowers she play'd, 
The Fairy Queen look'd on, 

From a haw-tree's blossom'd shade : 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 427 

With a fix'd, admiring gaze, 

On the tiny girl she smiled, 
And she whisper'd to her fays, 

"Harm not this gentle child !" 



THE BUTTERFLY. 

Fair child of the May-beams— 

Sweet nursling of spring — 
With the dyes of the sunbow 

All rich on thy wing ! 
How pleasant's thy flight 

O'er the field's glowing sod, 
Where blossoms are bright 

With the painting of God ! 

Now circling and playing 

Around the lusmore, 
Where' the willows are swaying 

Along the green shore — 
Now careless and easy, 

You're floating away, 
O'er the bank where the daisy 

Glows white in the ray. 

Now up where the sweet brier 

Is scenting the hedge ; 
Now down where the gold flower 

Glows bright in the sedge; 
Now off o'er the plain low 

You flutter and sail, 
Like a piece of a rainbow 

Afloat on the gale. 

Now into the green retreat, 

Where the white plumes 
Of the odorous meadow-sweet 

Waste their perfumes — 
Now on the red ring 

Of the glowing hedge-rose, 
For a moment thy wing 

Is laid down in repose. 

Soft airs, like a gush 

Of sweet laughter, awaken, 
And from the green bush, 

Like a blossom, you're shaken — 



428 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

Now round the bright leaves 

Of the thorn you play ; 
Now o'er the green waves 

Of the corn you stray. 

Now down to the gold-ridge 

Of rag- weed you go ; 
Now up to the old hedge, 

Where blossoms the sloe — 
Now where the grove's skirt 

Spreads its shadowy bars, 
Like a snow-flake, you flirt 

O'er the furze's yellow stars. 

Then off by the river, 

Along the bare strand, 
Thy gaudy wings quiver 

Above the brown sand — 
Now back to the meadow 

You're skimming again, 
Where the poplar's blue shadow • 

Is dimming the plain. 

You see a fair sister 

At rest in the bower, 
Where a heaven-ray kiss'd her 

To sleep on a flower ; 
Around her you hover — 

She 'wakens to greet you, 
With the joy of a lover, 

She rises to meet you. 

Ye sport 'round the blossom, 

Impearl'd with spray ; 
Ye perch on its bosom — 

Then part, and away — 
Again you are wandering, 

All wildly, alone, 
O'er the bright field meandering, 

High up, and low down. 

On the fox-glove's red ringlets 

There's not a rich dye 
But is fann'd by thy winglets, 

And scann'd by thine eye — 
'Till on its blue crest, 

With thy pinions reclined, 
In the sunbeam, you rest, 

Gently rock'd by the wind, 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 429 

But short is thy stay 

On that flower's purple throne ; 
Like a star-glance, away 

To the bank-side you're gone ; 
Now brushing the gemlets 

That shine on the grass ; 
Now over the streamlet's 

Brown margin you pass, 

Now airily skimming 

The river's breast wide, 
Where the foam-specks are swimming / 

Adown the blue tide. 
In the water's clear brightness, 

Thy image of snow, 
On its pinions of whiteness, 

Is fluttering below, 

You stoop down to play, 

With the bright-miraged thing, 
But the stream's shining spray 

Clogs thy delicate wing — 
Ah! radiant-robed creature! 

Thy wanderings are o'er ! 
The glory of Nature 

Shall feast you no more ! 

Your pinions, all golden, 

In tints heaven gave, 
Are now ruthlessly holding 

You fast to your grave ! 
Bright child of the meadow 

And sweet floral-glade, 
By your own silly shadow 

You're sadly betray'd ! 

Thus, flies of humanity — 

Early or late — 
Beauty and vanity, 

Sucn is your fate ! 
With butterfly motion 

You flutter about, 
By your own silly notion 

PufFd up and let out ! 
Pride marches before you, 

In fashion's gay flare, 
Poor foplings adore you, 

And nincompoops stare — 
Your silken vest covers 

A heart dead as stone, 
And the hearts of your lovers 

Are false as your own ! 



130 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

From pleasure to pleasure, 

In vice you descend, 
'Till your vanity's measure 

Is brought to an end — 
The halls you resorted, 

'Mid pomp's hollow glare, 
And the world, where you sported, 

Forget you were there ! 



THE SILVER BELLS.* 

A LEGEND OF ST. MARY'S CATHEDRAL. 

The bright-red even' is purpling o'er 
The golden summits of Cappantimore, 
And the dark-blue Shannon is rolling down 
By the war-cleft ramparts of Limerick town. 
There roams no zephyr on bank or shore — 
The hills are hazed and the plains are hoar ; 
And the moss-clad bridge, with its rocky chain 

Of hurl-built arches, lay o'er the tide, 
And its brown shadow rusted the silver plain. 

Of the sweeping current from side to side ; 
While the sunset cloudlets seem'd to diffuse, 
In the river's crystal, their diamond hues, 
As if spirits were lining its bed below, 
With the glistening dyes of the showery bow. 
On bank and mead, town, turret, and wood, 
A calm, like the charm of dreamland, dwells, 
And nothing is heard but the hoarse-toned flood, 

And the golden chime of St. Mary's bells, 
Whose melody, at that glorious hour, 
Fill'd, with thrilling sweetness, the charm'd air, 
As if angel-harps, from the grand church-tower, 

Flung out the rich soul of a love hymn there ! 

•The popular tradition, here illustrated, states that on the night before 
the "Reformers" took possession of St. Mary's Cathedral, the Friars 
carried off thirteen silver bells and hid them in a deep part of the abbey- 
river. Those bells were presented to the church by the Irish princes and 
lords of the surrounding districts. It is believed that the locality in which 
those sacred treasures are deposited is a secret transmitted from age to 
age by the dM members of the saintly order to their successors. There is 
a legend df\ tie present bells, and it relates how they were conveyed to 
the Limerick Cathedral from a church in Italy, at a time when that 
country was convulsed with revolution, but when peace was restored, the 
founder of those ■ bells sailed from port to port of Europe in search of 
them; at last he entered the river Shannon, and, when Hearing Limerick, 
the full chime of his beloved bells was borne on the wind to his ear { and, 
overpowered with the excessive joy of hearing their solemn, plaintive 
melody, he expired on the deck of the ship. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 431 

Ring on, sweet bells ! 'tis the last Mass-chime 

Of your fairy music that mortal ears 
Shall hear, thro' the shadowy mist of time, 

In this ancient town, for three hundred years — 
To-morrow the spoiler's hand shall hold 

The sacred keys of the holy place ; 
And its altars, yellow with virgin-gold, 

Shall be leveU'd down to the very base — 
Censor, chalice, cross, bell, and bead, 

As evil things, shall be cast away, 
And the saintly priests of God's heaven-taught creed 

Shall be hunted out, like wild beasts of prey. 
At midnight, in the pillar'd church, 

The last immaculate Mass was said ; 
In chancel, sanctuary, aisle, and porch, 

The living knelt o er the silent dead — 
The tapers, from the grand altar, threw 

Their golden lines on the columns dim* 
And the choir responded, while Friar Hugh 

Sang the holy Virgin's glorious hymn — 
"Sancta Maria!" pealed along 

The lofty aisles, with majestic swell, 
And the sacred notes of that holy song 

Thrill'd arch and roof, with their heavenly spell ; 
And the people wept, with a passion strong, 

As the hymn on their ears, like a blessing, came, 
For they knew that her temple would soon belong 

To a foreign creed that abhorr'd her name. 
Her image look'd down from its altar-throne, 

In the living glow of her virgin-charms, 
And Jesus, the Saviour, her infant Son, 

Reposed in the heaven of her sacred arms — 
Ave Maria ! Mother of Love ! 

How glorious in heaven thy state must be, 
Since the Great Infinite left the worlds above, 

To dwell in thy womb and be born of thee ! 
Magnificent Queen ! — Empyrean Rose 

Of Eternal Sweetness ! thy name shall be 
Heaven's golden honey in the mouths of those 

Whose hearts love J esus and honour thee ! 
White flower in the bosom of God serene ! 

The virgins their canticles round thee sing — 
Oh, the heart that's estranged from so good a Queen, 

Feels no true love for so great a King ! 



The congregation has gone away, 
In tears, from the aisles of the holy fane, 

With the priests' benediction, the last that they 
Shall ever receive in those aisles again. 



432 LAYS AND LEGEJSDS OF THOMOND. 

'Twas a gloomy hour of sorrow and fear — 

Mild right was crush'd by remorseless wrong — 
Quiet doves must fly when fierce hawks are near, 

So the weak must ever succumb to the strong. 
The Friars around the high altar stood ; 

Oh ! keen was the pang of their anguish then — 
'Twould melt the heart and curdle the blood 

To see the mute grief of those holy men, 
Some bow'd their heads on the altar-steps, 

And wet the cold stones with their heart-tears there ; 
Some stood erect, with their marble lips 

Turn'd up to the Virgin, in ardent prayer. 
And the morning's radiance would have shone 

On that scene of sorrow and desolate fear, 
But Friar John, in a calm, low tone, 

Cried, " Rise, oh brothers! the dawn is near ; 
Haste ! take from the altars each sacred thing, 

And hide it from the hand of blood ; 
Soon the beastly crest of a godless king 

Shall stand in the place where the Holy One stood ! 
But where shall we hide our Silver Bells, 

From the greed of those merciless sons of prey ? — 
Under those aisles there are dreary cells 

Which never shall see the glance of day ! 
Yet those cells are not gloomy and deep enow. 

To conceal our bells from the robbers' greed ; 
But down in the Abbey river below 

There are caverns cloak'd by the dead man's weed ; 
Fathoms beneath the miry plains 
Those caverns were work'd by the currents drear, 
And the demon-spirits of the red-haired Danes, 
Who channell'd that river, are dwelling there.* 
The fishermen shun its haunted gloom, 

When the night-stars glare on its cloudy waves, 
For many a mortal has found a tomb 

In the treacherous jaws of its fearful caves I 
There shall we hide our Silver Bells — 

There they'll be safe from the spoilers' greed — 
Deep in the river's Plutonian cells, 

As false and as black as the Norseman's creed I" 

Down from the Altar the sacred things, 

Qi gold and silver the Friars took — 
The pious presents of Chiefs and Kings — 

Cross, Chalice, Image and Holy Book — 
The tabernacle, with jewels rich, 

From its golden frame-work they tore away, 

» It is traditionally believed that the Abbey river was sunk by the Danes 
to fortify ancient Limerick. This river has become notorious! on account 
of the number of men and boys who have, from year to year, been drowned 
there. Some people think that it was made by the old Dominican Friars. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 433 

And the Virgin's bust from its hallow'd niche, 

Where the Infant God on her bosom lay — 
Two by two, thro' the western door, 
The priests their sacred burdens bore, 
And, as they pass'd from the tall-arch'd fane, 

A sheet of lightning, as bright as day, 
Smash'd the high altar- window, sash and pane, 

And the dead seem'd to sob in their beds of clay — 
Round roof and steeple the dull wind moan'd, 

lake a troubled ghost, and the flood shriek'd loud 
O'er Curracour's rocks, and the thunder groan'd, 

Like a wounded lion, in the low-hung cloud. 
Round chancel, monument, nave, and aisle, 

A dismal sound, like a spirit's wail, 
Throbb'd away thro' the gloom, and the mighty pile 

Shook, like a tree in the midnight gale. 
The massive bells in the steeple swung, 

To and fro, on their ponderous oaken beams, 
And their awful tinklings suddenly rung, 

And sullenly ceased, like dying screams. 

Down to the Abbey river's shore, 

The Silver Bells the cowl'd brethren bore ; 

They loosen'd a boat from the bank's wet side, 

To drop the Bells in the central tide — 

The waters raved, like a sick man's brain, 

And the wind, like a Banshee, cried o'er the plain, 

And the lightnings came, with a purple gleam, 

From their halls of flame in the clouds o'erhead, 
And they shot here and there, thro' the troubled air, 

Like hissing bars flung from a forge-fire red — 
While the thunder's boom, thro' the inky gloom, 

Of the pitch-black heavens roll'd, muttering on, 
As if the great God thro' the dark clouds trod, 

Proclaiming his wrath against fallen man. 

Out from the shore, without helm or oar, 

The boat was toss'd at the waves' wild will, 
' Till over the deep, where the dead weeds sleep, 
As if chain'd in the water, the boat stood still. 

One by one, * , 

The Bells are gone, 
Like things of stone 
To the bottom thrown ; 
And the river grew fierce as a demon's frown, 
While the holy Bells thro' its depths sank down. 
Loud and long the Friars pray'd — 
Fervent and fast were the prayers they said : 
" Ave Maria !— Mother blest ! 

No robber's hand shall thy Bells profane ; 
Here shall they rest in the river's breast, 
Till thy holy fane be restored again ! 



434 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

Ave Maria ! — glorious Bride 

Of the Holy Spirit that with thee dwells ! 
Let thy power preside o'er this dreary tide, 

To guard thy sacred Silver Bells !" 



j MANNIX THE COINER. 

Air. — " Mullins the Barber ! " 

The name of Mannix the Coiner has achieved an almost immortal no- 
toriety in the county Clare, not only for his ready art of producing the 
needful, but for his reckless exploits and hair-breadth escapes. He was one 
of the wildest characters in Ireland, and led a roving, rollicking life about 
the country. His physical strength, active vigour, and swiftness of foot, 
were unrivalled. For years he was watched, tracked and chased, by the 
police, but he successfully eluded their vigilance, and frequently out- 
stripped their swiftest runners in the pursuit, and he was often seen to 
clear walls, seven and eight feet high, at a single bound. He was, at one 
time, captured while sleeping in a barn, and conveyed to Limerick iail, 
but he managed to escape by cutting the bars of his cell window, which 
overlooked the Shannon; those bars, he cut by the agency of aquafortis, 
which was conveyed to him by his wife, who was a el ever and accomplished 
woman, and was as well skilled in the financial craft as himself. He got 
out of the jail at midnight, and also effected the liberation of a comrade- 
prisoner, who broke his leg in leapSfcg from the cell-window, but Mannix 
forded the river and brought a boat from the opposite side, by which he 
carried his disabled companion to the north strand, and from thence bore 
him on his back to a place of safety, four or five miles distant in the 
country. He at last made his exit to America, where he died in 1840. The 
incident illustrated in the following ballad really happened ":-— 

Mannix the Coiner and Neville the Piper — 

Rebels and outlaws, jolly as thrushes ; 
They lived in a Lane where they had a great reign 
Oi piping and coining, and drinking like fishes. 
Neville ne swore, with wild fury, 

That Mannix should share with him half the prog ;, 
Then Mannix jump'd up, in a hurry, 

And sent on the wife for a gallon of grog. 
;J" Well done !" said the piper ; " Play up !" said the coiner, 
jSpfe^i we've gold in our pockets and grog on the brain ! 
py|he taw and the gallows are made in the palace, 
^trTiile we, who defy them, rejoice in the Lane !" 

When the grog was brought in, they soon swigg'd it, 

AnH Neville then rasp'd up another gay tune, 
And bold Mannix merrily jigg'd it, 

As brisk as a bee in the meadows of June ; 
*• Well done!" said the piper—" Play up!" said the coiner, 

" We are the boys that can live everywhere ! 
^flLdfe, without fun, is like Spring without sun — 

So we'll flash it away, and the devil may care !" 

.*?*' Those guineas- — whoever may take 'em — 
Are but flying tokens to worldly fools lent, 
And I am the boy that can make em, 
As bright as e'er came from the Sassenach mint !" 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 436 

" Well done !" said the piper— "Play up !" said the coiner, 

"My golden character I'll always maintain ! 
And, compared with the schemers who rule and befool us, 

We're real honest men and good boys in the Lane !" 

Then Mannix put fire to his grisset, 

And out of his mould he shook many a shiner, 
But ere he had time to impress it, 

In rolVd the peelers and snaffled the coiner. 
So there was an end to the piping and coining, 

And a ruction was kick'd up, but no one was slain — 
" I'm done !" said the coiner — " Cheer up !" said the piper, 

" Fortune will favour the brave in the Lane !" 

" We have you, at last !" cried the peelers, 

" Tho' many a day we have chased you in vain !" 
'* Then !" said Mannix, " your dungeons and jailors 

May all be high hang'd— and farewell to the Lane!" 
Then off ran the coiner, and loud laugh'd the piper, 

As his friend disappear'd thro' night's darkness and rain ; 
Like a shaft from a quiver, he plung'd o'er the river, 

And left the bold peelers befool'd in the Lane. 



THE BARD AND THE SHANNON. 

A DRAMATIC BALLAD. 

Air. — " The Young May Moon /" 

The following discourse took place between the author and the genius of 
the rirer Shannon, concerning the embankment of a portion of the waste 
shore of that mighty stream, which he was about to reclaim and add, AS a 
valuable piece of land, to his garden. After seven years c* " A ~ 

severing and excessive labour, the extraordinary work \ x 
having put, with his own hands, thousands of tons of stoi 
terial into it to fill the chasm anlL resist the strong upHL 
the rapid down-coming winter fl<fbds. But after all his i 
building for himself a handsome ne% house — which he e 
Cottage, and after all his weary time and hard toil in converting I 
shore to a useful and beautiful garden— he was forced to give up the 1 
disgusted with domestic ingratitude and deceit, cheated by metcanti 
trickery, and finally made the victim of legal treachery and defraud. This 
interesting little place is on the north-western shore of the Shannon, 
bordering the ancient church land of St Leila, surrounded bya pleasing 
scenery of mountain, meadow, and woodland, teeming with historic lore 
and legendary tradition, with which the author, since his boyhood, has 
been well acquainted by untiring study. 

THE BARD. 

" Youb dominions are ample and grand, my lord I 
And Tm wanting a small bit of land, my lord ! 
So, between me and you, the least you may do 
Is to give me a shoe of your strand, my lord !" 




:36 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

THE SHANNON. 

" You must have a strong purse and strong hand, my bard ! 
To come at a slice of my strand, my bard! 
For the dash of my tide, in its glory and pride, 
Would level your work with the sand, my bard !" 

THE BARD. 

" I have no strong purse but a will, my lord ! 
Strong enough my designs to fulfill, my lord ! 
If I had a strong purse I'd soon turn your force 
To the working of many a mill, my lord I" 

THE SHANNON. 

" If you're set on invading my shore, my bard ! 
To embark half an acre or more, my bard ! 
Some wild night or day, 'twill be all swept away, 
When my mad flood, with storms, shall roar, my bard !" 

THE BARD. 

" In summer-time, while you're asleep, my lord ! 
I'll build my banks, heap upon heap, my lord ! 
Then, in winter-time bleak, when in wrath yoti awake, 
I'll laugh at your torrent's wild sweep, my lord !" 

THE SHANNON. 

" When my mountain-reserves shall come down, my bard ! 
With thick foam on their bosoms so brown, my bard ! 
While they leap, in their might, like war-horses in fight, 
You'll wish you kept threshing the town, my bard !" 

THE BARD. 

^11 meet them with ramparts like brass, my lord ! 

"lien let them roll backward or pass, my lord ! 
Or leap to and fro, with their war-plumes of snow, 
As they leap round your throne at Doonass,* my lord !" 

THE SHANNON. 

" Do you deem it a shame or a wrong, my bard ! 

To turn your heart from sweet song, my bard, 

And to stop my brave flood with your stone banks and mud ? 

But, by G , I'll not leave them there long ! my bard !" 



♦Alluding to the Falls of Doonass, which, when the river is highly 
flooded, especially in the winter season, present a grand and terrific ap- 
pearance* See a poem on this great cascade at page 91. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 437 



THE BARD. 



" I know you broke up Corconree,* my lord ! 

On which there were thousands spent free, my lord ! 

But, faith, if I were an engineer there, 

You'd not find such a sea-gull in me, my lord !" 



THE SHANNON. 



" Go bask in the Muses' sweet smile, my bard ! 
And don't mind reclaiming this soil, my bard ! 
Or you'll find that, by-and-by, some one else will en^oy 
The fruit of your honest hard toil, my bard !" 



THE BARD. 



" For my country I sung, night and day, my lord ! 
And many a legend and lay, my lord ! 
Have I moulded and read for a people that's dead, 
And misfortune and fraud were my pay, my lord !'* 



THE SHANNON. 



" Still throw your song's seed in their mind, my bard ! 
And in the great future you'll find, my bard ! 
That more rich fruit will spring from the verses you sine, 
Than your Jlght with my wild waves and wind, my bard !" 



" Industry's a noble, fine thing, my lord ! 
And my Muse shall be still on the wing, my lord ! 
I'm delighted to toil at reclaiming your soil, 
And, while I'm at work, I can sing, my lord !" 

THE SHANNON. 

" I feel mighty thankful to thee, my bard ! 
For the songs you have sung about me, my bard ! 
As you stray'd by the side of my bright sunny tide, 
Like the sky-bird, as fond and as free, my bard !" 

THE BARD. 

" I love your sweet banks and rich bowers, my lord ! 
For my soul drank the bloom of their flowers, my lord ! 
Inspiration I drew from your majesty blue, 
And was drunk with your glory, for hours, my lord !" 

• Corconree embankment, near Limerick, where the work of reclamation 
was so repeatedly swept away by the fury of the tides that three able con- 
tractors were made bankrupts before the enterprise was successfully com- 
pleted. The active genius of William Corbett, Esq., C.E., brought matters 
to a satisfactory issue. 



438 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

THE SHANNON. 

" While you're toiling and singing your song, my bard 1 
Take care that your work won't be wrong, my bard ! 
For it must be right good to resist my brave flood, 
Well you know it is desperate and strong, my bard !" 

THE BARD. 

" I have reason to know it right well, my lord 
And 'tis I your wild humours can tell, my lord ! 
For oft', from your waves, surging up from your caves, 
I saw people running pell-mell, my lord !" 

THE SHANNON. 

'^ril make my wild surges give room, my bard ! 
To the work which you plan or presume, my bard ! 
And you're skilful and brave, from the weed and the wave, 
To raise up a garden of bloom, my bard !" 

THE BARD. 

" I'll make it a sweet little spot, my lord ! 

To adorn the rear of my cot, my lord ! 

But, whate'er way it ends, we'll sure be good friends, 

And the devil a fear you'll be shot, my lord !" 

, THE SHANNON. 

•' Beware of your friends — they are mean, my bard ! 
And as hungry as vultures for gain, my bard ! 
This warning, pray take, or some morning you'll wake 
To find all your labour in vain, my bard !" 

THE BARD. 

4t I am grateful to Nature and you, my lord ! 
For all that I think, dare, and do, my lord ! 
And you'll long think of me when this garden shall be 
il A green wreath on your vesture so blue, my lord !" 



THE BARD'S FAREWELL TO THE SHANNON. 

On the day before the author gave up possession of " Thomond Cottage,'.' 
January 14, 1879, he advanced to the pier, raised by his own labour, during 
seven years, at the end of his garden, where the following mutual ' Fare- 
well ' took place between himself and the Genius of the river Shannon. 



'* r THOtr azure lord of mighty floods! 

I leave thy vernal scenes to-day ; 
From thy bright billows, banks, and woods, 

By foul injustice driven away. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 439 

No more my singing heart shall hail 
Thy autumn charms and wintry glooms ; 

And spring preparing grove and vale 
To nurture summer's coming blooms." 



" Why would'st thou go ?— My fairy fields 

Rich beauty to thy heart supplied, 
And all the sweets that Nature yields, 

Thy spirit, with a hymn, enjoy'd — 
Or are those scenes which largely gave 

Thy life enchantment, grown less fair ? 
Or dost thou all their treasures leave 

For inspiration's feast elsewhere ? 

BARD. 

" Oft on thy misty moonlight shore— 

Thou foam-clad lord of rushing streams, 
I lay beside the torrent's roar, 

All wrapt in wild romantic dreams ; 
The golden stories of the Past, 

My warbling spirit turned to song, 
While mingling with the nightly blast, 

Thy raving billows dash'd along." 



" I saw thee on the breezy lea, 

I saw thee by the lonely grove, 
Where sweetheart Nature flung to thee 

Her pleasant wreaths of song and love ; 
And, sure, you will not leave her now ? — 

Her glorious, gushing spring is near, 
When bank and bower, and bird and bough 

Shall pour their spells on eye and ear. " 



"I never dream'd from thee to part, 

Until the warning came too late — 
And then I read, with freezing heart, 

The iron edict of my fate. 
Let worldlings hug their sordid store — 

But all I ask'd of God on high, 
Is that I'd never leave thy shore, 

Till on thy floral banks I'd die !" 

RIVER. 

" Strange, stern, and evil is the doom — 
The deed deserves eternal blame — 

That tears thee from thy new-made home, 
WTiioh looks so stately on my stream ; 



440 I*AYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

But who has undermined thee there, 
And driven thee from my airy side, 

And bloom-bower which thy labouring care 
Has fix'd so sweetly in my tide ?" 



"Alas ! oh, grief ! I blush to tell 

It was no stranger did the deed, 
But 'twas the friends I trusted well, 

That struck my heart and made it bleed ! 
By life-long pains it was my pride, 

For them a beauteous home to win, 
But while I fondly toiled outside, 

I was betrayed by those within /" 



"Yes, many a morning, bright and dark, 

I saw thee labouring on my shore, 
While roll'd the anthem of the lark 

My purple-sheeted bosom o'er — 
And now is sorrow thy reward, 

For all thy love and labour brave ? 
The gloomy hearts that wrong'd thee, bard, 

Are darker than my deepest cave !" 



" Ah, 'tis the sad mysterious way 

Which those we love oft work us woe ; 
And one who smiles our friend to-day, 

To-morrow frowns, a deadly foe ; 
We cannot see the future drear, 

Where hidden lurks our grief or joy ; 
The world is but one mighty snare, 

And nothing there is worth a sigh." 



" Thank Heaven, I'm not of mortal strain 

To feel the wrongs, the wounds and woes, 
Of which so justly you complain, 

Inflicted by your friendly foes. 
But could I be of human form, 

I would return with rapture free, 
The glowing admiration warm 

That thrills thy burning soul for me." 



When on thy shores the floral cup 

Of summer's gems is pour'd by spring ; 

And God calls all his sky-birds up 
Around his gates of light to sing ; 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 441 

I'll not be near to join the choir, 

I'll not be there to love the flowers ; 
To hear God's universal lyre, 

To kiss the buds and twine the bowers." 



"When spring with emerald pencil comes 

To touch my glowing landscapes wide ; 
Amid her myriad gushing blooms 

I'll miss thee from my radiant side ; 
When bursts the bud and hums the bee 

In Mona's sunny meadows fair ! 
I'll miss thee from the vernal lea, 

While soulless serfs are wandering there." 



•' No more thy banks shall gem my feet, 

When summer mists along them roll, 
While Nature in the rising heat, 

Is laughing out her flowery soul. 
In the dim city's heart of stone, 

'Mid fraud and sin I'm forced to dwell, 
Like waif from thy bright waters thrown — 

Thou lord of Erin's streams ! Farewell !" 



THE BATTLE OF DYSERT. 

a.d. 1318. 

De Clabe assembled all his troops in wild Bunratty's glade, 
And thrice three thousand reckless men for battle stand ar- 

For to maintain his sinking power against the dread Clan Tail 
The desperate chief again must try the eloquence of steel. 

And all the bold adventurers from England'*****}** J^gg - *. 
Who worm'd themselves in Thomond's soil, have *WMl /lis 

martial corps ; 
And many an Irish traitor in his guilty host is seen, 
Wretches who for the foreign Red exchanged their native 

Green. 

A thousand vigorous war-steeds in refulgent harness shone, 
Like evening clouds in golden range around the Day Kong* 

And proudly were those steeds bestrode by cavalier and knight. 
With spears and plutoes, and girded swords, and corselets broad 
and bright. 

29 



442 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

And gazing on the mustering troops the Castle-portal near, 
Stood bold De Clare's haughty wife, with her imperious air ; 
While, at her high behest, her vassals went from line' to line, 
And served the thirsty soldiers with large bowls of Rhenish 



Then turning to her steel-clad lord and her majestic son, 

On whose bright cheek young manhood's down its silken 

growth begun ; 
While knight and squire respectful in her queenly presence 

stand, 
Each listening, with his helmet doff'd, and broadsword raised 

in hand. 

" My lord of high Bunratty ! this great day's important toil 
Must soon extend or end our claim to Thomond's dangerous 

soil ; 
Ye go — may heaven nerve your hearts — a tiger-race to quell, 
And God, I trust, will fire each man to fight the battle well ! 

"This is a land where all our friends in princely state may 

live, 
If valiant souls and manly arms the conquest would achieve ; 
Remember then this land shall be, or not be, ours to-day, 
And strike ye brave — let not your lives be idly thrown away!" 

Then, stretching out her stately arms, she clasp'd her warrior- 
boy, 

And tears impearl'd the long dark fringe of her commanding 
eye; 

She whisper'd gently — " my son ! to part thee I regret, 

But I do hope I'll one day see thee lord of Thomond yet ! 



"Now be thy young heart firm to meet the battle's glorious 

shock, 
Fight near thy sire, he'll prove to thee a guard and sheltering 

rock; 
I wish with equal care thou would'st preserve thy life and fame, 
Be cautious, cool, and wary, without blemishing thy name!" 

She press'd him — bless'd him — kiss'd his cheek, and wrung his 

sinewy hands, 
Then to the topmost tower she went to watch the moving 

bands ; 
Amid the blazing wave of spears she marked her lord and son, 
Till, indistinct, their lessening forms beyond the hills were 

gone. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 443 



In three divisions march'd the host to distant Inchiquin, 
Where couch'd the Dalcas war-wolves in their aeath-sur- 

rounded den ; 
Impatiently awaiting the Invaders' ranks to hew, — 
The god of war might quail with fear the desperate clans to 

view. 

Some on the mountain-sandstones their keen war-axes edges 

plied, 
And on the deeply-wounded trees the sharpened weapons 

tried; 
By turns they roll their burning eyes along the southern plain, 
"Are the Norman wild boars coming yet ?" they ask, and ask 

again. 

To Dysert's woody passes the swift scouts of bold O'Dea, * 
Return'd with the welcome news — "De Clare is on the way," 
Then Thomond's prince disposed his troops— some on the rising 

ground, 
And some within the wood's green skirt their order'd stations 

found. 

Upon a narrow plain that lay two thicket shades between, 
The brave O'Dea deploy'd his force of twice three hundred 

men; 
While posted firm on Scamhal's hill, in glittering hostile show, 
Stood, with his yellow- vested clan, the Prince of Corcomroe.f 

Behind, within the bordering grove that fringed the open plain, 
Clan Cuilen's stern and desperate troops the shaded ground 

maintain ; 
And on O'Dea's extended left Hy Cormiac's squadrons lay, 
With gallant Lochlin Roe O'HehirJ commanding their array. 

Now o'er the distant misty heights the Norman flags appear'd, 
Loud and more loud their hollow drums and martial pipes 

were heard : 
And high above the van, De Clare's conspicuous form rose tall- 
Powerful and proud as Lucifer an hour before his fall. 

Like Fergus in his wintry wrath, the foremost ranks swept on, 
And dash'd into the guarded pass upon Hy Fermiac's clan : 
While right and left the troops drew back to lure them 

farther in — 
"Up," cried O'Dea, "my valiant Kerns 1 your bloody spor 
!begin!" 

* Chief of Hy Fermiac, i.e. fochiquin. 

t Felim O'Connor the Hospitafete -^^ , 

t The Barony of the Islands. It Was the territory of the O'BehtrS, a trfcr- 
like sept of the Dalcaarians. 



444 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 



•' Those brigands came to rob us of our patrimonial right ! 
Our fortune, freedom, home, and all, depend on this day's 

fight ! 
God gave your sires this noble land— they bravely kept it free 
From foreign thieves, and so, with God's Almighty aid, 

shall we ! 



"To weaken and divide our strength the basest means they 

tried — 
To disunite our friendship they the vilest arts employ'd : 
To root us out, like hated weeds, they toil'd with tireless 

nerve, 
Now pay them the red wages which their cursed deeds 

deserve ! 



"There are the robbers! teach them well, as robbers should 

be taught, 
That ere they touch the tempting spoil it must be dearly 

bought : 
Let every man who scorns to be a wretched Norman serf, 
Now ckave them as our fathers clove the Northmen at Clon- 

tarfl" 

Then, with a cheer that shook the woods the madden'd clan 

closed round, 
And, like a thousand sledges' din, the rapid blows resound : 
'Gainst plated mail the Gaelic shirts their saffron folds oppose, 
And grinding thro' the scaly steel each Dalcas war-axe goes. 

De Clare's main army onward rush'd to aid the cloven van, 
But up O'Hehir's squadrons leapt and met them man to man : 
Then shriek' d the thunder-storm of steel round plain and dell 

and brake, 
Tremendous as a shower of rocks upon a frozen lake. 

Up dash'd the iron cavalry led by De Clare's bold son, 

And ghmmering bright above their crests the lifted broad- 
swords shone ; 

When, with a yell, from Scamhal's height O'Connor's spearmen 
leapt, 

And, like lions thro' a deer-fence, on the wavering line they 
swept. 

Now madly plunged the spear-gored steeds and down the 

riders roll'd — 
Out dash'd the dread Clan Cuilen from the shadows of the 

wold: 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 445 

And on the second phalanx of the Norman army fell, 
With glaring eyes and gnashing teeth, like panthers round 
a well. 



Now clang'd the sharp resounding axe and reek'd the driving 

pike, 
Unnumber'd swords together clash, and whirl, and gleam, 

and strike ; 
The grassy hollows of the field the showering death-rain fills, 
Like red waves rolling to the plain adown a hundred hills. 



As when the kingly Shannon, on some stormy winter's night, 
O'erwhelms the bulwark of his bounds, in his stupendous 

might ; 
In scatter 'd fragments o'er the meads his broken banks are 

tost, — 
So rush'd the charging Dalgais thro' the mighty Norman host. 



Wild rose the planet-shaking cheers, and all the roaring plain 

Seem'd to confine within its ring a boiling iron main ; 

While 'mid the lightning- whirl of steel that upward danced 

and fell, 
The raging combatants appear'd like fiends begirt with hell. 



Like cloudy garments of the storm-king o'er a rock-ridged sea, 
The banners swung their blood- wet folds above the burning 

fray: 
lake fire-tongues in a furnace-bed, steel splinters hiss'd and 

flew, 
And o'er the ground, in mingled piles, the carnage-havoc grew. 

With lion-ourage nerve and might, the Normans brave the 

charge, 
Like firm-based cliffs, they stand the shock— each bulwark'd 

by his targe, 
But vainly do those iron orbs the Dalcas axes meet, 
At every stroke the bursting plates fall shiver'd at their feet. 



With mutual wounds and dying grasps, foe grappling, falls 

with foe, 
The boiling toil-drops turning cold upon each death-struck 

brow; 
And quick as sightless vapours rise in summer's flaming heat 
Souls left their tenements, and flew before the Judgment 

Seat. 



446 LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 

As two tall ships by veering blasts against each other driven 

When midnights cloud-flags darkly shake their pitchy folds 
in heaven; 

The huge masts and the crashing planks groan o'er the howl- 
ing sea, 

Thus, ^mid the frantic tumult, met De Clare and fierce 
O'Dea. 



The Irish chief round his left arm wound his martial cloak, 
And with his swift destructive axe, that gave no second 

stroke, 
AssaiFd his powerful Norman foe, from head to foot in mail, 
Whose ponderous plate was of the best and purest Milan 

steel. 



As smites the lightning-sword of heaven the granite of the 
hill, 

Their weapons 'gainst each other clash'd, with clangor sharp 
and shrill ; 

Red flame-sparks leapt at every stroke from blade and sound- 
ing plate, 

While round them tugg'd the reeling hosts, like quivering 
fields of wheat. 



As two mad hungry wild beasts rush each other to devour, 
They roar and roll, and tear the earth with rampant savage 

power ; 
Thus furious in their fiery might the vigorous warriors meet, 
With vengeful yells of demon-rage, flushed brows, and gnash- 
ing teeth. 



But yet so well the Norman used his shield and dexterous 

blade, 
To strike a sure decisive blow O'Dea in vain essay'd ; 
At last against a larchen tree he forced the warrior back, 
And then, with strength of soul and frame, renew'd the stern 

attack. 



De Clare's sharp sword-point stung O'Dea, and drew the boil- 
ing gore, 

But yet the shallow wound provoked the raging chieftain 
more : 

He hurl'd his vengeance-driven axe against the Norman 
mail, 

And sunder'd, like a brittle board, the solid mass of steel. 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 447 

Shoulder and breast, down to the heart, the grinding weapon 

ploughed, 
As summer-thunder, in its fury, tears a flimsy-cloud : 
The armour fell in riven halves— the gasping chief sunk down, 
Like an expiring storm when it gives its last death-groan. 

And now the wrathful victor, with ferocious enmity, 
Hew'd the fallen lord to pieces, as a woodman hews a tree :* 
Inch by inch he fiercely cut the body, flesh and bone, 
And round the sward to feed the crows the reeking bits were 
strown. 

Then thro' the yielding Norman host a panic-terror grew, 
And, like a swift electric shock, from rank to rank it flew : 
While in among the shatter'd lines, with mad impetuous 

force, 
The desperate clan of Corcomroe impell'd the troop of horse. 

Entangled, mixed and terrified the masses roll around, 

And drive amain, in headlong rout, along the shaken 

ground ; 
Man tramples man, in reckless haste they fling their arms 

away, 
And on the hideous tumult whirls, as wind sweeps matted 

hay. 

+ 
De Clare's proud son was stricken down by stern O'Connor's 

spear, 
The stately branch lies withering in the May-time of its 

year; 
His mother, in Bunratty's hall, expects, from hour to hour, 
To hear good tidings of her boy — her heart's beloved flower. 

He was the only blossom of her life's green summer-bough, 
The flower has fallen to the dust — the tree is barren now ; 
The sunny garden of her hope shall soon be plunged in 

gloom, 
And never shall another spring reanimate its bloom. 

With folded arms and heaving breastjfrom hall to tower she 

flies, 
And o'er the intervening heights she strained her falcon 

eyes; 
No sign — no news — they come not yet—the evening sun is 

low — 
They have delay'd to take— she thinks— the trophies of the 

foe. 

* This is a horrid historical fact. 



448 LAYS AND LEGENDS OP THOMOND. 

Ah ! little does her proud heart know the awful work that's 

done, 
On that dread havoc-plain where lie her mangled spouse and 

son; 
The sword of fate has cleft in twain her golden chain of life, 
She's now a childless mother and a lonely widow'd wife. 

Still the fiend of slaughter rages, as the torrent of the rout 
Rolls on before the fc victors, with commingled groan and 

shout. 
No quarter or no mercy, to the fugitives is shown, 
But the mercy which a deer-herd finds 'mong hungry lions 

thrown. 

The valorous knights and captains of the Norman host are 

slain, 
De Naas and De Capel, and the bold De Condons twain ; 
Stout Apilgard and other chiefs, of martial feats the pride, 
There bravely met the shock of war, and fiercely fighting 

died. 

Back to Bunratty's blood-curst towers the scattered remnant 

runs, 
And grim, as wolf-hounds, on their track rush Thomond wrath- 

f ul sons ; 
As blasts drive on a rapid flame thro' withered brambles 

brown, 
They spring upon the flying groups and sternly hew them 

down. 

The news have reached Bunratty's hall— what fearful shrieks 

are there ? 
Grief, rage and consternation fill the mansion of De Clare ; 
' The lady tore her silken robe, and in distraction wild, 
Jlew thro' the rooms, loud screaming for her slaughter'd lord 
f j a%hild. 

" The Dalcas wolves are coming fast .'" the frightened guards- 

men cry, 
"Let all who wish to keep their heads, desert the towers and 

fly i" 

The frantic lady, with a brand, the rooms and rafters fired, 
Then quickly, in a well-mann'd barge, down Raite's flood 
retired.* 

* After setting the woodwork of the castle on fire, Lady De Clare flew to 
, JBngland ; and never more did any member of her race or name return to 
claim right or title to Bunratty. Thus ended the long wars of the De Clares 



LAYS AND LEGENDS OF THOMOND. 449 

Thenceforth in golden Thomond no De Clare returned to 

claim 
The lordly power, the hostile state, and honours of the 

name; 
Bunratty's awful towers still frown upon those blood-dew'd 

plains 
Where many a hard fought battle raged and left its reeking 

stains. 



Like the ghost of desolation, the grim Castle-pile is seen, 
In the gray age of its glory, a dark wonder 'mid the scene, 
As if the souls of those who bled for fame, around its halls, 
Had written, at their parting, a romance upon the walls. 



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